Renters Reform Bill worse than feared

Renters Reform Bill worse than feared

10:26 AM, 18th May 2023, About A year ago 65

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It is only a Bill and has just been published but the Renters’ Reform Bill appears at first sight worse than many have feared. All tenancies are to become periodic, meaning landlords will have no security of income and student landlords in particular will find the tenants will not pay for the summer holidays.

One massive change is that currently section 21 notices cannot be served if the tenancy deposit has not been properly protected with an authorised scheme and the prescribed information given unless and until the deposit is returned to the tenant. That rule did not apply to Section 8 notices. Now it is proposed that except in cases of antisocial behaviour: “ the court may make an order for possession … only if the tenancy deposit is being held in accordance with an authorised scheme.”

The tenant must also have been given the Prescribed Information in the required form. So even if the ground for eviction is rent arrears, damage to the property or that the landlord wants the property back to live in himself, he may fail if the deposit paperwork is not in order.

When landlords eventually get to court tenants will be able to ambush them with a technical defence because, for example, the wrong clause number was referred to in the Prescribed Information or there was some other minor error. The safest course will be to return the deposit to the tenant which is really to add insult to injury and it will be a bold landlord who seeks a section 8 eviction without professional help. So much for Mr Gove’s statement today about being able to evict more quickly tenants who are “persistently and deliberately evading their responsibility to pay their rent”.


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Comments

Caroline Hall

22:07 PM, 19th May 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Yvonne Francis at 19/05/2023 - 11:41
I wonder if the universities would be able to cope with taking on all the extra houses?

Seething Landlord

1:42 AM, 20th May 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Yvonne Francis at 19/05/2023 - 17:52
I have now had a look at the Bill and Explanatory Notes (paragraph 15 in particular refers to PBSA being exempt) - the best I can do is say that it appears that student accommodation will not be subject to the new rules if it falls within the scope of paragraph 8 of Schedule 1 of the Housing Act 1988 i.e. if the tenancy is granted by a specified institution so could be wider than PBSA and include accommodation leased to a university as you suggest, although that might not be the intention.

SCHEDULE 1: TENANCIES WHICH CANNOT BE ASSURED TENANCIES
8(1)A tenancy which is granted to a person who is pursuing, or intends to pursue, a course of study provided by a specified educational institution and is so granted either by that institution or by another specified institution or body of persons.
(2) In sub-paragraph (1) above “specified” means specified, or of a class specified, for the purposes of this paragraph by regulations made by the Secretary of State by statutory instrument.
(3)A statutory instrument made in the exercise of the power conferred by sub-paragraph (2) above shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

Specified institutions are defined in SI 1988 number 2236 - The Assured and Protected Tenancies (Lettings to Students) Regulations 1988.

Yvonne Francis

11:10 AM, 20th May 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Caroline Hall at 19/05/2023 - 22:07
Yes, thats a point. However they would make sure they take on enough so they don't have to turn down their intake of students and as all student houses are let in my area then thats what they need. I have recently recieved a letter from Brookes University which I image has been sent to every HMO to ask for Landlords whole portfolio's.

The only trouble is that not all Universities do what Brookes do. I'm in Oxford and the numerous colleges which make up the University of Oxford do not manage any houses in the PRS. I tried to discuss this with them some time ago and just got pushed from pillar to post.

Marlena Topple

13:53 PM, 20th May 2023, About A year ago

Can anyone tell me what happens in a joint tenancy situation if one tenant decides to leave once the renter's reform bill is enacted. Would remaining tenants have the right to stay? I am a student LL and currently my student tenants sign a joint AST.

Luke P

14:33 PM, 20th May 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Marlena Topple at 20/05/2023 - 13:53
If it’s anything like Scotland, unlike is the case in England now, ALL tenants must give notice. In England currently, one tenant (outside the fixed term) can give notice for/to affect all tenants, bring the entire tenancy to an end…assuming it’s a ‘normal’ joint (and several) agreement.

Seething Landlord

19:50 PM, 20th May 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 20/05/2023 - 14:33
I've not spotted anything in the Bill to suggest that there will be any change to the law relating to joint tenancies.

JB

10:16 AM, 21st May 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 20/05/2023 - 14:33
So if one tenant leaves and the other tenants stay they have to find extra to cover the full rent.

What then, if they find an 'unsuitable' replacement tenant. Who has the final say?

Luke P

15:52 PM, 21st May 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by JB at 21/05/2023 - 10:16
Yes, they have to make up the shortfall. You can pursue any one of them for the whole amount if you like.

They cannot simply 'replace' the vacated tenant.

Yvonne Francis

19:29 PM, 21st May 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by JB at 21/05/2023 - 10:16
Its all very well what Luke says but that is not going to make a happy household. JB you did ask who gets the final say. I sign a new lease when they find a suitable replacement so I have the final say or else I would not bother with the paperwork. If they just let in a replacement then they would be breaking the terms of the lease and have no security as they could leave at any time. I was put off from using a Deed of Assignment from comments on this site. I know if you refuse a replacement you cannot be unreasonable.

The only time I refused a replacement was because they were working and my houses are student houses. Once the existing tenants realised Council Tax would have to be paid they were reasonable about it.

JB

20:08 PM, 21st May 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Yvonne Francis at 21/05/2023 - 19:29
What I was really getting at is that if one tenant leaves and you are able to keep refusing a replacement tenant, the others would probably leave anyway, as it would be too expensive for them to stay

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