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Tenancies Reform Bill Fails On Technicality

Tenancies Reform Bill Fails On Technicality

Tenancies Reform Bill Fails On Technicality

UK private rental sector (PRS) and social landlords were able to breathe a sigh of relief on Friday 28th November 2014, when the controversial Revenge Eviction Bill, or to use its correct title, the Tenancies Reform Bill, presented by Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather, failed to progress past its first reading in the House of Commons.

Rather than failing on a vote, the bill failed on a technicality after MP’s Philip Davies and Christopher Chope chose to talk it out, known as filibustering, because there were not enough MP’s present in the House of Commons to vote for the Bill. The debate started at approximately 9.30am and parliamentary procedure dictates that only Bills which remain unopposed after 2.30pm may make further progress.

MP’s who supported the Bill tried bringing forward a closure motion, to end the debate and call for an early vote, however for a successful majority, at least 100 MP’s must support it, but the motion was only supported by 60 MP’s and the debate on the Bill subsequently ended.

In order for the Tenancies Reform Bill to become law by the next election it must pass a second reading stage in the House of Commons, but it is not certain whether the Government will commit more parliamentary time to debate the Tenancies Reform Bill to try to force it through.

UK PRS and social tenants do need to be protected from the small minority of rogue landlords, and so do good, reliable, law abiding landlords.

It is far from fair that the majority of upstanding landlords should be expected to alter legal business practices because of criticism drawn by a few rogue operators within the UK’s private rented sector.

The Tenancies (Reform) Bill proposed restrictions on the serving of section 21 notices even where only a “hazard awareness notice” has been issued by a council. Landlords wouldl also be prevented from serving a section 21 notice where an improvement notice has been served on a rental property relating to category 1 or category 2 Hazards under the HHSRS rating system, or where the rental property requires emergency remedial action.

Tenants would also be able to challenge section 21 notices where they had complained to the landlord or council before the notice was issued, but the council was still deciding whether to even inspect the property in question.

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 Potential new documentary for Channel 4 

looks at the world of problem tenants

Documentary wants to hear from landlords with problem tenantsBruce Haagensen received the following request from Jennifer Gilroy of IWC Media and wondering if Landlords would like to participate in a possible documentary:

My name is Jennifer Gilroy and I’m a producer with a television production company. I’m developing a potential documentary for Channel 4 which looks at the world of problem tenants.

Channel 4 are really interested to develop a programme which explores the current economic climate and how it is affecting the private rental market – from the recession hit ‘accidental landlords’ to other landlords with larger property portfolios – but all having to deal with the consequences (financial and emotional) of troublesome tenants.

We’re hoping to look at this from people at the early stages of problems perhaps trying to deal with it through dialogue with their tenants, to other cases which have gone down the legal route towards eventual eviction.

I have detailed below some further information about my company and the documentary proposal.  And of course if you would like to discuss the project with me in more detail, I’d be delighted to be able to chat to you and ask advice.  I work in our development team and so this is not a commissioned documentary, Channel 4 have asked us to explore the area and find potential people to be involved, so any help or advice would be hugely appreciated.

IWC Media, producers of award winning documentaries such as ‘Stephen Fry: Secret Life of a Manic Depressive’ and makers of long running property series ‘Location, Location, Location’, are developing a new documentary for Channel 4 looking at the world of landlord and tenant disputes.

They want to hear from landlords who are currently in dispute with their tenants – from rental payments to concerns about the state of their property. 

The purpose of the documentary would be to look at the financial AND emotional costs the current economic climate is having within the private rental market.

Whether they’re at the start of the problem or have already sought legal advice to evict – we’d like to hear from them.

Many thanks for taking the time to read this request and I hope you might be able to help.

If you are interested, please contact Jennifer direct either via telephone on 0141 353 8417 or email at jennifer.gilroy@iwcmedia.co.uk

About IWC Media

IWC Media is the largest independent television production company in Scotland and, as part of Zodiak Media Group, one of the world’s leading creators, producers and distributors of content for TV, radio, new media as well as cinema. 

With offices in Glasgow and London, IWC has a well-established reputation for making, intelligent, popular and award-winning content for all the terrestrial and digital channels in the UK as well as broadcasters beyond the UK such as Discovery, the History Channel and National Geographic. 

Our output ranges from popular factual, lifestyle and formats in peak-time and daytime through to landmark documentaries, blue-chip science, art and history series.    

As well as being incredibly proud of the range of programmes we make, we also pride ourselves on the way we make them.  We’ve built up a strong track record and reputation making powerful documentaries which often involve high profile talent exploring difficult but important issues, or sensitively handled access where we’ve worked closely with organisations like the police, hospitals, councils or charities to gain access in to worlds an audience rarely gets to see.  Some examples hopefully showing the range and quality of our output include: 

  • Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive (2 x 60) BBC2
    Series exploring bipolar disorder and winner of International Emmy for Best Documentary
  • Terry Pratchett: Living with Alzheimer’s (2 x 60) BBC2
    Winner of BAFTA Scotland for Best Factual Series & Broadcast Award for Best Documentary Series
  • Making Faces (4 x 60) FIVE
    Documentary series currently being produced following a facial reconstruction unit and team at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
  •  Big Body Squad (7 x 60) FIVE 
    Documentary series following bariatric teams up and down the UK dealing with our largest people.
  • Gareth Gates: Stop My Stutter (1 x 60)  BBC THREE
    Documentary following Gareth Gates helping 4 young stammerers to speak.  
  • Location, Location, Location Channel 4
    Our long-running, benchmark property format with professional house-hunters, Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer. Now entering its eleventh year and still going strong
  •  Extreme Fishing with Robson Green Five
    The hugely successful fishing travelogue presented by actor Robson Green 
  • Brave New World with Stephen Hawking (5 x 60) Channel 4
    Landmark series celebrating the great visionaries of British science, presented by some of our greatest living scientists and engineers including Stephen Hawking, David Attenborough, Richard Dawkins, Robert Winston, Mark Evans, James Dyson, Aarathi Prasad, Jim Al-Khalili.
  • Mountain with Griff Rhys Jones (5 x 60) BBC1
    Winner of Scottish BAFTA for the Best Factual Entertainment Programme
  • A Year in the Life of J K Rowling (ITV1)
    Through extraordinary access we followed J K Rowling as she wrote the last Harry Potter novel  
  • Cutting Edge: The Air Hospital (1 x 60) Channel 4
    Documentary following elite pilots and medics flying critically injured troops home from Afghanistan
  • Modern Masters with Alastair Sooke (6 x 60) BBC1
    A landmark arts series on four legends of Modern Art: Matisse, Dali, Warhol and Picasso.
  • Lost Kingdoms of Africa (4 x 60) BBC4 and BBC2
    Landmark series exploring forgotten Kingdoms of pre-colonial Africa fronted by Gus Casely-Hayford
  • Rory and Paddy’s Great British Adventure (Five)
    A road trip round Britain with Rory McGrath and Paddy McGuiness taking part in mad events.
  •  Ten Days That Made the Queen (Channel 4)
  •  Ross Kemp on Gangs (4 x 60) Sky One
    Broadcasting Press Guild Award for the Best Multi-Channel Documentary
  •  The Genius of Charles Darwin (3 x 60) Channel 4
    Winner of Broadcast Award for Best Documentary Series & Scottish BAFTA for Best Factual Series
  •  The Root of All Evil with Richard Dawkins (2 x 60) Channel 4
    Polemical journey exploring roots of religion and winner of Scottish BAFTA for Best Documentary
  •  The Enemies of Reason with Richard Dawkins (Channel 4)
    Two part series on irrationality with the celebrated academic. 
  •  Robbie Coltrane’s B-Road Britain (ITV1)
    Road trip round Britain with one of its best loved comic actors.
  • Stephen Hawking: Master of the Universe (Channel 4)
  • Kirstie’s Homemade Home Channel 4
    Popular home-craft format following Kirstie Allsop’s attempts to renovate her home
  • Crimes that Shook the World (Discovery)
    Respected series exploring the lives of serial killers around the world.  
  • The Detonators (Discovery)
    A series following the work of companies who blow up buildings. 
  • A Woman in Love and War: Vera Brittain (BBC One)
    A powerful documentary celebrating the life of Vera Brittain.  Presented by Jo Brand 
  • Wreck or Ready? BBC Daytime
    A brand new format delivering high-quality multiple episodes on a fast turnaround schedule
  • The Joy of Motoring (BBC4)
    The history of driving with historian Tristram Hunt. 
  • Scots Who Made the Modern World (BBC Scotland)
    Series celebrating great Scottish inventors, medical pioneers and engineers. 
  • The Pre-Raphaelites (BBC4) 
  • Michaela’s Zoo Babies (Five) 
  • UK’s Toughest Jobs (Sky One)
  • Mean Machines (Discovery

For more information, visit our website at www.iwcmedia.co.uk and http://www.zodiakmedia.com/

Landlord Possession Orders And Tenant Evictions Increase

Tenant Eviction Figures Increase Again

Tenant Eviction Figures Increase Again

There has been a dramatic increase in the number of PRS landlords seeking to evict bad tenants and the volume of possession orders doesn’t look like abating any time soon according to data released by the UK Government.

Government figures show that there were 103,329 landlord claims for tenant eviction and orders for possession made last year, the highest recorded rate over the last five years and continues to represent an upward trend.

It is estimated that between 67% and 80% of claims led to a possession order being granted by the courts.

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Reluctant Landlords have been avoiding insurance obligations

Reluctant Landlords have been avoiding insurance obligations

When the banking crisis struck back in 2008, mortgage lending in the UK virtually ceased as lenders became wary of the toxicity of sub-prime mortgage loans and raised their lending criteria (and lowered their Loan To Value ratios) to unprecedented and highly restrictive levels, virtually killing the property market.

This meant that properties became financial millstones for many people who were unable to sell, resulting in an upsurge of reluctant or “accidental” landlords who were able to take advantage of a booming rental market caused by the fact that potential property buyers were forced to hand over substantial deposits in order to be allowed a mortgage or were unable to obtain mortgages due to the tightening of the lending criteria and were subsequently forced to rent!

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Massive rise in tenant eviction orders as landlords are forced to get tough causing outcry from homelessness charity Crisis.

Over the last three years there has been a 70% rise in court orders for the eviction of tenants in the UK Private Rented Sector (PRS).

12% Rise in Tenant Evictions over last 3 years

12% Rise in Tenant Evictions over last 3 years

Homeless charity Crisis set about analysing figures released by the Ministry of Justice that revealed in the last 12 months some 36,211 PRS landlords have been granted a court order for the eviction of tenants, a rise of 12% on the previous year, and 70% higher than the 21,351 court orders for tenant eviction granted in 2009.

The data shows that between 2009 and 2011, almost 10,000 individuals approached their local authority claiming to be homeless due to the end of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) or because of rent arrears. A rise of 42% on previously released figures.

Duncan Shrubsole, Policy Director at Crisis, said: “Sadly it is no surprise that we are seeing tens of thousands of private tenants facing eviction. They face a dreadful combination of high unemployment and underemployment, draconian cuts to housing benefit and soaring rents. Our concern is that many of these people will have nowhere to turn, and end up falling victim to homelessness. In fact the Government’s own statistics point to this already happening. We are calling on the Government to rethink cuts to housing benefit that will inevitably leave increasing numbers of people unable to pay the rent. We are also in desperate need of more social and affordable housing in order to rein in the soaring rental market.”

Sim Sekhon from the UK’s leading tenant eviction specialists, Legal 4 Landlords commented: “In these austere times UK landlords are being forced to take action with bad tenants or tenants with rent arrears as they simply cannot afford to go without the rent. We have seen a significant rise in tenant evictions in the last 12 months and unfortunately this trend is set to worsen due to the raft of benefit cuts and welfare reforms being pushed through parliament. Landlords are finding their own finances stretched and are having to take legal action for the eviction of non paying tenants before their entire rental businesses go bust. There are ways for landlords to avoid being in this situation but it does require action to be taken before the start of a tenancy, all applicants should be thoroughly tenant referenced and landlords can utilise Rent Guarantee Insurance to keep the monthly rent flowing.”

Legal 4 Landlords the UK No.1 specialist landlord service provider

Legal 4 Landlords the UK No.1 specialist landlord service provider

To find out more about the specialist products and services

offered by Legal 4 Landlords please visit their comprehensive website

Eviction numbers increase as tenants struggle with finances

Evictions for Rent Arrears Increase by 10.2% This Year

County court closures are being blamed for prolonging tenant rent arrears eviction hearings

The number of tenants in severe financial difficulty has climbed by 10.2% in the first quarter of this year according to the latest tenant arrears tracker by Templeton LPA, part of the LSL Property Services plc Group.

Almost 8,800 more tenants were over 8 weeks in arrears and facing the threat of eviction than there were in the last quarter of 2011.

In the first quarter of 2012, an average of 94,400 tenants in England and Wales were in severe arrears, an increase of 20% compared to the same period in 2011.

The figures were affirmed by specialist landlord service provider, Legal 4 Landlords, who handle an average of 20 tenant evictions per day across the UK.

Legal 4 Landlords spokesman Sim Sekhon said: “At the current rate of growth, the number of PRS tenants facing arrears greater than 8 weeks will climb above 100,000 in the next quarter. Tenants have been facing increasing financial pressures due to the state of the economy and the rising cost of living and unfortunately landlords without rent guarantee insurance have been suffering the most”.

Although severe rent arrears cases have continued to increase, PRS tenancies in severe arrears only represented 2.4% of all properties in the private rental sector (PRS) in England and Wales in the first quarter of 2012.

Overall tenant arrears have improved, with 9.3% of all rent either late or unpaid by February 28th, a decrease from 10.7% at the end of 2011.

Paul Jardine, director and receiver at Templeton LPA, said: “While the general tenant population has absorbed the rising cost of renting in the last two years, a minority of tenants are facing severe financial difficulties, a minority that is growing. These tenants have been pushed into deeper and deeper arrears by a combination of rising living costs, high rents and a weak labour market, and are now months behind with the rent cheque. In turn, these severe rental arrears figures have been inflated by the ongoing impact of county court closures. The closures have prolonged arrears cases, with landlords less able to gain court dates to quickly remove non-paying tenants. This is creating a backlog of tenants in extreme arrears, increasing the amount of rental income lost for landlords or their appointed receivers of rent. Despite the recent surge in severe arrears cases, overall tenant arrears have performed remarkably well given the challenging economic environment. In fact, as we often see at this point in the year, more financially robust households are now paying down post-Christmas debt and putting their finances in order, which is helping to reduce the overall level of tenant arrears.”

The annual growth in tenant arrears has been matched by a yearly rise in the number of tenants being evicted by court orders.
In the last quarter of 2011 some 24,702 tenants faced eviction notices, an increase of 9% on the 22,634 in the last quarter of 2010, although the figures reported are 4% lower than they were in the third quarter of 2011.

Fraudulent tenancies on the increase in the UK

Are Tenant Applicants Really Who They Claim To Be?

UK Landlords and letting agents are being warned about an increase in bogus tenant applications.

Fraudulent applicants have been filling out tenancy application forms provided by honest landlords and agents, giving inaccurate or misleading information, in a bid to secure the rental of the property.

It is not unknown for the fraudsters to move from property to property, with no intention of keeping up with the rent, even within the same small town.

Fraudulent tenants often give false information on where they have been living previously to throw referencing companies and letting agents off the trail.

They are also very difficult to evict as the more professional bad tenants appear to know their way round the legal system. Eviction of these “professional bad tenants” is better left to an eviction specialist such as Legal 4 Landlords.

Tenant fraud has been problem for letting agents and landlords alike for a number of years and is apparently on the increase in some parts of the UK.

It is essential that landlords and their agents have a checklist for new tenants that include obtaining ID documents and proof of current residency at the earliest stages of a tenancy application.

Landlords and their agents need to be alert for anything unusual that could increase the risk for the landlord.

Comprehensive tenant referencing services are a vital tool for landlords and letting agents to spot anomalies, oddities and the potential for fraud in all tenancy applications.

Tips for landlords and letting agents to help reduce Tenant Fraud.

  • Request photo ID
  • Obtain a credit check – individuals with good credit histories are generally good tenants.
  • Use a professional company, such as Legal 4 Landlords for thorough tenant referencing
  • Get references from employers – Obtain written references and where possible speak to the employer personally
  • Get references from all previous landlords – although references from landlords may need to be taken with a pinch of salt as some landlords just want to get rid of problem tenants and will give good references.
  • Obtain copies of payslips and bank statements
  • Compare addresses shown on the application with those shown on ID documents
  • Look at what kind of car the prospective tenant drives
  • Trust your gut instinct
  • Do not take anything at face value

Landlords are urged to double check everything and if they have any reasonable suspicion that things are not quite what they seem, then they should refuse the tenancy, no matter how desperate they are to get someone in their property. Letting to a dishonest tenant will cost the landlord even more financial heartache in the long term.

Landlords should also beware of another common practice employed by dishonest tenants – subletting!

Sub-letting is an illegal practice that the UK Government are trying to stamp out, however it has become a common practice among fraudsters in the private rented sector, (PRS).

When tenants have accepted the landlord’s terms and conditions regarding the tenancy, signed the AST and apparently appear to have moved in. Only to rent the property out again to another unsuspecting dupe at a profit. Often in cases where this happens the bogus tenant will abscond with everyones money, leaving the sub-letting tenant homeless and the poor, unsuspecting landlord high and dry.

When a landlord carries out regular periodic property maintenance, they should check that the occupier is still the same person named on the assured shorthold tenancy agreement, (AST).

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