The RLA and NLA are supporting the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill

by Property 118

9:06 AM, 18th January 2018
About 9 months ago

The RLA and NLA are supporting the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill

Make Text Bigger
The RLA and NLA are supporting the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has thrown its support behind the Private Members Bill brought to Parliament by Labour MP Karen Buck.

The Bill includes giving tenants the right to take legal action over the habitation standards of private rental property. Please Click Here to see full details of the Bill drawn up so far.

The RLA view is that all home should be fit for habitation and that the Bill does not introduce any new standards over and above the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and that if the issues are caused by tenants then the landlord will not be liable.

It also ensures parity for private landlords with council and social housing with the RLA writing: “It gives council tenants a route to enforcement that is currently unavailable.  Councils cannot take enforcement action against themselves, and are often reluctant to act against social housing.  If the Bill is passed social housing tenants will be able to access direct enforcement of housing standards.

There is also an element of protection against malicious reporting by tenants. The tenant must report issues to the landlord first and allow inspection of the property with an opportunity to affect repairs. Tenants cannot just go straight to the courts and instigate legal proceeding before notifying the landlord.

Overall the RLA believes that: “Unless a council takes action, there is very little recourse for tenants, even when backed by organisations Shelter or Citizens Advice.

Such criminals rely on avoiding prosecution in order to continue exploiting tenants.

Now tenants, with suitable backing and proper evidence, will be able to take direct action to raise standards and help force the worst elements out of our sector. 

The National Landlords Association also supports the bill with chief executive Richard Lambert saying: “Too often, tenants living in sub-standard properties are let down by local authorities being unwilling to make effective use of their extensive enforcement powers. This Bill will help ensure that the vast majority of good landlords, who are already keeping their properties up to the standards expected, are not under-cut by less reputable landlords who deliberately shirk their responsibilities.

“As the Bill progresses through Parliament the NLA will seek to ensure that proper protections remain in place so that landlords are not faced with vexatious claims, nor face punishment for conditions that result from the tenant’s actions.”

 



Comments

Dr Rosalind Beck

11:23 AM, 18th January 2018
About 9 months ago

Both landlord organisations would do better to prioritise fighting vociferously against the barrage of attacks against landlords rather than putting their weight behind politicians playing on populist anti-landlord sentiments. I think it's done as an attempt to 'get in' with these people but I don't think it works.

Wayne Hoban

13:27 PM, 18th January 2018
About 9 months ago

If this is run in the spirit of its intended use, I am quite for this to come in, as it will massively improve the PRS and remove the rogue landlords that sully the rest of our good names. Would this be a good reason to campaign for the removal of selective licensing?
On the downside of it, there needs to be some sort of protection from unscrupulous claims made by these ambulance chasing 'solicitor' firms when they run out of PPI, packaged bank account and interest only mortgage claims. I can already see the TV adverts "did you tell the landlord that your lightbulb had blown and they didn't change it, we can get you thousands of pounds on a no win, no fee basis" (but we take 35% +VAT)!

Larry Sweeney

15:38 PM, 18th January 2018
About 9 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Dr Rosalind Beck at 18/01/2018 - 11:23Agreed Rosalind. Excellent point. Both organisations are trying to curry favour with Hostile elements who are on a roll with Landlord bashing. Actually one wonders if either organisation is worth a jot. They both failed to stop selective licensing, In fact The RLA have a joint deal with Liverpool to administer this sham . They failed to stop section 24 and are now backing this tosh , on the pretext that Criminal landlords are around every corner. Finally both organisations failed to prevent the new draconian measure where councils can fine a landlord up to £30k For a licence breach. What we have here is a criminal offence being prosecuted without the need to waste time allowing the alleged perpetrator to defend himself in court. If the LA says he is guilty he is guilty Probably. and here lies the real issue. A landlord can be convicted of a criminal offence without a court hearing, and on the balance of probabilities rather than the criminal standard of proof ie beyond reasonable doubt. I see breaches of the ECHR here. What about the NLA and RLA. They are too busy with nonsense, instead of fighting the landlords corner. Well they will reap the rewards of a mass exodus from the PRS and less membership fees.This is a good reason for them to join with Councils on co reg. It ensures Landlords must remain members to get the advantages of a scheme which is rubbish from the outset, but the organisations still collect membership fees.

Dr Rosalind Beck

17:16 PM, 18th January 2018
About 9 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Larry Sweeney at 18/01/2018 - 15:38
Yes, Larry. It's very disappointing. We need forceful advocates who fight for landlords with no conflict of interest.

Michael Barnes

11:58 AM, 20th January 2018
About 9 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Larry Sweeney at 18/01/2018 - 15:38
I have been away for a while, but I see that you are still failing to engage your brain and understand the true situation.

A landlord CANNOT "be convicted of a criminal offence without a court hearing".
The landlord has the option of paying the financial penalty (if she agrees) or taking the issue to court.
Therefore a LA will not impose the financial penalty UNLESS they have a case that they expect to stand up in court.
ALSO the before the penalty can be issued, the landlord must be given the opportunity to address the issue, and the penalty will be issued only if suitable action is not taken.

Simon Jenkins

10:24 AM, 21st January 2018
About 9 months ago

An issue we are seeing more often over the last few months is a tenant reporting an issue to the EHO without coming to us first. There appears no provision in the bill for the tenant to be compelled to communicate issues to the landlord in writing (and I don't mean via voicemail, text or What's App - all too frequent!!).

In fairness to our local EHOs, they no longer go straight out a the tenant's whim but write to us first and we put the matter right or show the tenant that, for example, the black mould is inevitably a result of their behaviour rather than a structural defect.

Our pre-tenancy diligence includes our own version of HHSRS risk assessment which is databased and is updated on every occasion we, or our representatives enter a property. This provides a living document of the "health" of the property during a tenancy. Such a document seemed to go down well with the District Judge during a final account hearing where the tenant's defence centred around a condensation case that the Judge agreed was indeed condensation.

Whilst other 118 posters and posters on other sites criticise new legislation, and whilst I agree that S24 is an appalling act brought in by a discredited ex-chancellor, there is no doubt that continued legislation against the PRS is driving landlords out and creating a housing shortage amongst renters. This is reflected in our rents - up 7.3% in two years. This increase is hardly excessive but it is above CPI for the same period.

In my rent increase letters I specifically reference Westminster Government legislation as the prime driver for the increases. To date I have not lost a tenant due to rent reviews and have even had the odd text of sympathy.

Whilst S24 is an abomination, the other pieces of legislation are driving out the bad and accidental landlords. Rents are up, voids are down and we can now cherry pick our tenants meaning that the hassle factor is also down. I would not like to be a starter landlord today - certainly my model would not survive - but having been in this game for nineteen years, this is now the most stress free part of my career.


Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

Open Letter to Landlords and Shelter

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More