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Tenant Eviction - How Landlords should do it

Tenant Eviction – How Landlords should do it

Landlords Need To Know How To Handle Tenant Rent Arrears

As many UK landlords already know, there are always some issues that can arise during the course of a tenancy. These can vary from essential repairs to rent arrears and with the UK still slowly recovering from a double dip recession, money is tight all around.

With this in mind Legal 4 Landlords offer landlords some sound advice on dealing with tenants in rent arrears before being forced to take legal action for the eviction of the defaulting tenant.

Some tenants are still struggling financially and many are increasingly finding it hard to keep up with their monthly rental payments as well as dealing with the increasing cost of living. Many tenants experience problems due to changes in personal circumstances, such as redundancy or pay cuts, rather than intentionally refusing to pay rent.

Having to pay the mortgage on rental property and not receiving the rent is stressful for all landlords without Rent Guarantee Insurance, but when a tenant is having difficulty paying the rent, there are still a number of options open to landlords before having to resort to eviction.

  • Try to resolve arrears with the tenant to avoid time consuming and often costly court proceedings, especially if they have generally paid in full and on time.
  • Discuss a realistic payment plan with your tenant and encourage them to pay what they can each month to keep down their arrears, confirming everything you agree upon in writing
  • Seek a money order via the Small Claims Court which will order the tenant to pay back the money they owe. This can happen at any time during the tenancy and you do not need to ask your tenant to leave. If the money order isn’t settled within 14 days then your tenant will have a County Court Judgement (CCJ) entered against their name and the order can be enforced via the courts. (Remember that if your tenant is genuinely not in a position to pay then this may be slightly unfair as you will only be worsening their position).

If the tenant still refuses to pay up or insists that they can longer afford the rent, then landlords must follow the legal process for eviction of the tenant in order to recover possession of their rental property.

Serve Notice To Quit

The benefit of an Assured Short-Hold Tenancy (AST) is that the provisions make it much easier to evict a tenant than other tenancy agreements.

Briefly, there are two ways of serving notice to quit when your tenant has fallen into arrears.

1. Section 21 – end of tenancy possession

Section 21 enables a landlord to gain possession at the end of a tenancy without providing reason. There are two types of Section 21 notices: the Section 21(a) notice for possession of a periodic tenancy (that is, when the fixed term of the lease has expired and not been renewed); and the Section 21(b) notice for possession of a fixed term tenancy.

With the Section 21(a) notice for a periodic tenancy, you must provide notice of two months’ or the amount of time between rent payments (e.g. 3 months for quarterly payments), whichever is greater.

If you want to serve notice at any point during the fixed term of the tenancy, you must serve a Section 21(b) notice. As with Section 21(a) you must provide at least two months’ notice, however the earliest date on which the tenant must vacate the property cannot be earlier than the last day of the fixed term of the lease.

Note: you must have secured the tenants deposit in one of the 3 government approved tenancy deposit protection schemes otherwise the Section 21 notice could be invalid.

2. Section 8 – fault based possession

Unlike Section 21, the Section 8 notice can be served at any point during the tenancy. However, it is a lengthier process so it is advisable only to use this route if you have more than 3 months left of the fixed term.

There are 17 grounds on which you can claim fault based possession, 8 of which are mandatory i.e. if the landlord can prove these then the court must give possession. Rent arrears falls under the mandatory ground 8 as well as discretionary grounds 10 and 11, all requiring two weeks’ notice.

If the tenant refuses to vacate and/or hasn’t paid their arrears after the notice period has elapsed, you will need to apply to the court for a possession order and/or a money order.

Legal 4 Landlords can handle all aspects of debt/rent recovery and are the UK’s leading specialists in tenant evictions.

Under a possession order, the court sets a date for the tenant to vacate the property after which they can be forcibly removed by bailiffs.

UK Landlords are warned not attempt to evict tenants themselves or they could face legal action for unlawful eviction and landlords should always use the professional services of an eviction specialist.

Government’s Own Watchdog Warns Ministers Over Housing Mayhem

There will be a huge shortage of affordable Private Rented Sector (PRS) property for tenants claiming housing benefit if the Government Welfare reforms go ahead in the spring of 2013 as currently planned.

Welfare reform could lead to more Tenant Evictions

Welfare reform could lead to more Tenant Evictions

The warning has come from the Government’s own spending watchdog, the National Audit Office and has been backed by the British Property Federation (BPF), which says ministers should take action to stop UK Private Rented Sector (PRS) housing becoming unaffordable to tenants claiming benefits.

The National Audit Office says the danger comes from Local Housing Allowance (LHA), which is paid to benefit tenants in private rented accommodation, being calculated in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rather than local market rent inflation.

The National Audit Office says this could lead to a divergence between local area rents and benefits.

The British Property Federation reckons that Government ministers are aligning rents with the price of sausages.

By 2017 the National Audit Office warns that 48% of all UK local authorities could expect to have double the number of benefit applicants, than at present, looking for two-bedroom properties that they will not be able to afford.

Tenants currently claiming benefits may face financial hardship or even eviction when the proposed changes come into force.

From April 2013, the Government is set to change the way LHA increases are calculated, shifting its sums away from the 50th percentile of local market rents to either the Consumer Price Index or the 30th percentile of local market rents, whichever is the lower.

But knowledge among tenants about the proposed housing benefit changes is minimal, warns the report. Surveys of tenants living in private rented sector properties show that 87% know nothing or very little about the changes.

The report, ‘Managing the impact of Housing Benefit reform’, makes a series of recommendations, in particular that the Government should increase awareness of housing benefit and Universal Credit changes, particularly among those living in the private rented sector. The report also underlines that the National Audit Policy only analyses policy impact, but makes no comment on the policy itself.

The British Property Federation said the Government cannot ignore this report. Policy director Ian Fletcher said: “Since the cap was announced, we have expressed concern that the measure will rapidly and relentlessly erode what Local Housing Allowance will be for. This is because market rents have historically risen with earnings, rather than the basket of goods such as sausages and net curtains.”

The full report is here:http://www.nao.org.uk/publications/1213/housing_benefit_reform.aspx

More PRS tenants are struggling with rent arrears

The latest UK Court Statistics released by the Government continue to indicate a steady rise in the number of claims for possession by landlords that have resulted in orders for tenant eviction being made.

Tenant Evictions Still Increasing

Tenant Evictions Still Increasing

The continued rise in severe rent arrears have lead to more than 25,000 landlords making successful claims for possession of rental property from tenants in the second quarter of 2012, and it is thought the third quarterly report due out imminently will show similar, if not higher results.

The number of tenants experiencing severe rental arrears is at its highest level since 2008, with over 100,000 tenants behind with their rent payments.

Sim Sekhon, spokesman for Legal 4 Landlords, the UK’s leading eviction specialists, said “Unfortunately it is unlikely that the problem is going to improve in the near future, and as a result an increasing number of landlords are now opting for rent guarantee insurance products in addition to their normal forms of insurance. Legal4landlords have seen a sharp increase in demand for rent guarantee insurance as landlords and their appointed managing agents look to find ways to protect rental income. The problem of tenants getting into financial difficulties is not going to go away and with the Government’s welfare reforms and additional austerity measures still to come, we expect tenant arrears and tenant eviction cases to continue to rise well into 2013 and beyond.”

Section 8 - Grounds For Eviction

Section 8 – Grounds For Eviction

Taking the professional tenant eviction route may sound expensive to many UK landlords, but it can actually work out to be the cheaper option because professional tenant eviction specialists, like Legal 4 Landlords, know what they’re doing and work fast.

Many landlords try to tackle the eviction process themselves by serving a Section 8, but there a few details that must be 100% accurate and many landlords attempting to evict tenant’s themselves unknowingly serve an invalid notice, consequently delaying the entire eviction process, which ultimately may result in more lost rent for the landlord.

A Section 8 notice to quit, sometimes referred to as a Section 8 possession notice has to be completed and served correctly on the tenant(s) of the rental property, allowing the landlord to seek possession of the rental property from the tenant during the term of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST).

The Section 8 notice needs to show that the tenant has breached the conditions of the tenancy agreement, any term or condition of the tenancy agreement that is seen to have been broken constitutes a breach. The most common type of breach is the non-payment or late payment of rent, however, damage to the property, unsociable conduct, and subletting are also grounds for a possession order.

To make a Section 8 form valid, the landlord must state which grounds the tenant has breached according to Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988

All Section 8 forms require the landlord to specify the grounds they are citing as reason for eviction.

These grounds for possession, under Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988, fall into 2 main categories and are listed below

  • Mandatory Grounds – this covers Grounds 1 to 8 and if one of these grounds is cited on a Section 8 form the court must grant possession to the landlord.
  • Discretionary Grounds – this covers Grounds 9 to 17 and in these cases the court will only grant possession if it feels it is reasonable to do so.
Ground Short Description
Ground 1 The landlord requires the property in order to use it as their main residence. This ground can only be used if the landlord used the property as their main residence prior to the tenancy beginning.
Ground 2 The mortgage lender on the property has served notice to foreclose. In this case the mortgage in question has to predate the start of the tenancy.
Ground 3 The property was previously used as a holiday let and is required to return to the status of holiday let. For the exact conditions that apply to this Ground please see the Housing Act 1988.
Ground 4 The property is being let by an educational institution and is now required by students of the educational institution. Written notice that this may happen must be served before the tenancy begins.
Ground 5 The property is owned by a religious body and they require possession for a member of their church i.e. a Minister of Religion.
Ground 6 The landlord wants to demolish and reconstruct, or redevelop all or part of the property. The tenant needs to have refused to live in all or part of the property while work is carried out for this ground to be feasible. If granted the landlord is required to pay all reasonable moving costs to the tenant.
Ground 7 The current tenant is a tenant heir and is not named on the original tenancy agreement. The landlord must serve a Section 8 notice within 12 months of the death of the named tenant.
Ground 8 The tenant has failed to pay more than 8 weeks rent in the case of weekly payments, 2 months in the case of monthly payments or 1 quarter in the case of quarterly payments. Ground 8 is often cited in conjunction with Grounds 10 and 11 so that a partial payment by the tenant just prior to the court hearing doesn’t render the possession order obsolete. Note: When claiming possession under this ground, it is advisable to cite more than one ground since, if the tenant pays off part of the arrears shortly before the hearing, this ground can no longer be proved and possession proceedings will have to be abandoned. It is, therefore, common practice to cite more than one ground for rent arrears (i.e. grounds 8, 10 & 11), if applicable, and to also wait until at least two months’ rent (or eight weeks in the case of a weekly tenancy) is unpaid before issuing the Section 8 Notice.
Ground 9 Suitable accommodation of the same type and quality has been offered to the tenant and refused. The landlord is required to pay all reasonable removal costs if possession is granted.
Ground 10 The rent is in arrears but by no more than 8 weeks in the case of weekly payments, 2 months in the case of monthly payments and 1 quarter in the case of quarterly payments.
Ground 11 The tenant is repeatedly late with payments or repeatedly fails to pay their rent until prompted by the landlord.
Ground 12 The tenant has breached any of the terms listed in the tenancy agreement.
Ground 13 The tenant has neglected or damaged the property, or they have sublet the property to another individual who has neglected or damaged the property.
Ground 14 The tenant is considered a nuisance to neighbours or other tenants and has received complaints concerning their conduct.
Ground 15 The furniture listed on the property inventory has been misused, damaged, broken or sold by the tenant or any individual living with them.
Ground 16 The property was let to the tenant as a condition of their employment but the employment has now come to an end.
Ground 17 The property was let on the basis of false information provided by the tenant or one of their referees/ guarantor.
Grounds For Eviction

Grounds For Eviction

How much notice is given in a Section 8?

  • The amount of notice a landlord is required to give differs according to the grounds they are citing on the Section 8 form. Ground 2 for example, requires a minimum of 2 months’ notice but grounds 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 only require 2 weeks’ notice.

What happens after the Section 8 Notice has been served?

  • All Section 8 forms must clearly state the date on which the notice expires. This is the date that the tenant has to have paid their rent arrears by, or have vacated the property by, and in nearly 80% of cases the tenant leaves or pays before this date arrives.
  • If the tenant refuses, the landlord can start court possession proceedings on the day following the date cited on the Section 8 form.
  • To do this the landlord has to acquire forms N5 and N119 from their local county court and pay the appropriate court fee. This then starts the process of gaining a possession order.

Will a Section 8 guarantee that a possession order will be granted?

  • In simple terms, NO!.
    The likelihood of being granted a possession order is dependent on the Grounds cited on the Section 8 form, and as mentioned earlier some grounds are mandatory while others are discretionary.
  • Grounds 2 and 8 are always granted the order but the circumstances surrounding the other grounds are carefully considered by the court before a decision is made.
  • The evidence of the landlord and any evidence submitted by the tenant is looked at closely and factors such as hardship and extenuating circumstances suffered by the tenant are taken into consideration.
  • If a possession order is granted it normally takes effect within 14 days, but in cases of true hardship on the part of the tenant this can sometime be extended to six weeks.

Tenant eviction can be a bit of a minefield for the uninitiated landlord and the safest and fastest way to evict a tenant is to use a tenant eviction specialist, like Legal 4 Landlords who take care of all the paperwork and appoint trained legal teams to deal with the hassle.

The UK's leading tenant eviction specialists

Legal 4 Landlords

knowledge of tenant evictions is second to none, that’s why they are the UK’s leading tenant eviction specialists!

With newspaper reports of rising rent arrears and tenant rent defaults, many landlords want to protect against the loss of rent. There are a number of specialist products available for landlords to use including Rent Guarantee Insurance.

Here Legal 4 Landlords, the UK’s leading provider of specialist products and services to landlords and the lettings industry, explain the benefits of rent guarantee insurance, as well as looking at some of the smaller print.

How it works

The Truth About Rent Guarantee Insurance

The Truth About Rent Guarantee Insurance

In theory, rent guarantee insurance can be a landlord’s proverbial best friend: if your tenant fails to pay their rent, the insurer will pay you instead.

The outstanding amount is then recovered by the insurance company from the tenants directly.

Of course, in some instances you may agree with your tenant to accept a delayed payment because of financial problems or other extenuating circumstances, and therefore would not need to make an insurance claim.

On the other hand, landlords may face difficulties of their own some months, and for around £120 a year rent guarantee insurance offers you piece of mind that your rent will be paid on time and in full when you most need it.

Relief for legal costs and void periods

Most good insurance policies will also include legal cover for the eviction of the tenant. Landlords should note that the eviction process can be a lengthy and costly period of time, the legal cover provides landlords relief in terms of time and money.

What’s more, as long as the eviction process started within the policy period, the insurance company will continue to pay your legal costs up to the policy limit even once the policy has ended.

In addition, most policies will pay 50% of the rent for up to 3 months after eviction whilst you find a new tenant. However, if policy ends during the eviction process you will of course have to renew the policy in order to receive this and your monthly rental payment.

The small print

Tenants need to be thoroughly referenced and credit checked in order to be granted the policy. Landlords should have had these checks done before the tenant moved in so there should be no additional costs.

Some insurers won’t allow claims for the first 3 months of the policy, and there may be an excess to pay that is equivalent to one months’ rent and landlords won’t receive anything without renewing if you are in the last month of an active policy.

It also means that there is little point in claiming for rent that is a month late unless you are sure the tenant will continue to not pay and/or you want to evict the tenant.

With only 30 days to claim after the rent became overdue, this can be a difficult judgement to make as your tenant may well intend to pay.

If you do agree to delay payment by more than 30 days, make sure you keep all your correspondence otherwise you won’t be able to backdate the claim if the tenant doesn’t end up paying.

Not only do you then lose another month’s rent on the excess, but it could void your policy altogether in some instances.

Policy renewals are not guaranteed. Unless eviction proceedings begin immediately, any tenant defaulting towards the end of a policy could stop you from being able to renew and so the eviction costs could have to be met by the landlord

The way that some other rent guarantee policies are set up means that the odds are stacked in favour of the insurance company.

Despite this, in a recessionary environment with decreased job stability even tenants with a good credit history may face financial difficulties, so it is very worthwhile for landlords to take action protecting against rent default.

Universal Credit Will Backfire Warns Think Tank

Government Welfare Reforms Set To Backfire As Claimants Don't Want Universal CreditThe proposed welfare reforms are not wanted by the majority of claimants or their landlords according to research by the Social Market Foundation.

Tenants with low incomes and families claiming benefit will be pushed further into financial difficulties and debt by the shift to monthly benefit payments under Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms.

Attempts as part of the new Universal Credit system to encourage claimants to budget properly and make their own rental payments risk backfiring, the Social Market Foundation said.

It called for the introduction of an online budgeting tool allowing claimants to set the frequency of payments themselves and allocate income to different items of expenditure.

However the foundation stopped short of calling for landlords to continue to receive direct payments for tenants that were considered vulnerable or at risk.

Under the Universal Credit there will be one single monthly benefit payment – rather than weekly or fortnightly as at present – and all tenants will have to pay landlords themselves.

The Government says it will be “flexible” with those who struggle to manage their money.

Research by the Social Market Foundation, entitled Sink or Swim: the Impact of Universal Credit, found that most low income households were opposed to the moves, expressing fears that they would not be able to budget properly and could end up in rent arrears and even face eviction.

Nigel Keohane, the think tank’s deputy director and co-author of the report doubted whether plans by the Government to provide special arrangements for certain vulnerable individuals was adequate, stating: “The Government’s laudable aim that Universal Credit should prepare families for work, boost their resilience to financial shocks, and simplify the system is at risk of backfiring. By moving to a single monthly payment for all benefits, the Government is removing the markers and aids that families currently rely on to budget effectively. Our research shows that this will throw people in at the deep end leaving them either to sink or swim. This laissez-faire approach will create real problems not only for families themselves, but also for public service organisations, such as social and private sector landlords and childcare providers, that families will end up owing money to. Instead of mandating monthly payments and centrally planning which families to exempt, the Government should allow low income families to take the decision themselves through an online budgeting tool,” he said. “This would allow the reforms to work with the grain of wider government objectives like personal responsibility and increased financial capability rather than working against them as the current system seems set to do.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “Universal Credit will be paid monthly because most people in work are paid that way and the system should help people get used to the patterns of working life. But we will make sure that no one falls through the cracks, and we are working with local authorities and the financial industry on how best to support individuals. We have always said we would be flexible with people who might struggle to manage their money.”

Hmmm…..If that last statement is true, then the DWP had better start preparing to open a separate department to deal with struggling landlords as the Universal Credit system is severely flawed and the majority of claimants don’t want direct payments because they are unable to cope at the present time, so what happens to them in 2013?

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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

Hi All
My property management agents were in the process of interviewing a pair of prospective tenants for one of my properties. The applicants were a homeless married couple who had been forced to relocate to the area due to losing their jobs and wanted to move to an area with better employment opportunities.

The application was going great until it came to checking the couple’s housing benefit entitlement….

According to the local authority (I wont name and shame them here for legal reasons) the married couple were only entitled to the shared room rate because they were married and under 35. The management company attempted to argue over such blatant discrimination by the local authority but the facts seemed to fall on deaf ears.

Single claimants under 35 would be entitled to receive the shared room rate in full as individuals, but because the applicants were married they only counted as a single applicant!

It has taken 4 months of hard work, stress and a great deal of legal wrangling to sort out, including requests for Discretionary Payments, consultations with LHA professionals and arguements with various Government departments.

Following tips and advice gleaned from “The Essential Landlords LHA Handbook” I have now been able to get the full 2 bed LHA rate paid directly to me and the local authority have been forced to make a grovelling apology to the tenants!

It just goes to show that when armed with the right information and legal standpoints there are always options open to landlords, and it pays to invest in the knowledge of experts!

I would like to publicly thank the LHA Expert for his brilliant LHA book and tons of helpful advice!

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UK PRS Landlords still avoiding housing benefit tenants

1/3 of Private Rental Sector Landlords Avoiding Tenants Claiming Benefits

A new Government report has revealed a growing concern about UK landlords, as an increasing percentage are now refusing to accept applications from tenants claiming housing benefits.

The situation regarding LHA tenants is set to get much worse, following the recent statements made by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and his party’s vision for further welfare reform. Read full story

The Government commissioned report was compiled by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University revealed that over one third of the 1867 landlords who agreed to take part, are already actively refraining from accepting LHA tenants or are considering avoiding benefit tenants in the future.

This change in UK landlord’s perspectives has developed since the government capped housing benefit payments in April 2011, meaning that many LHA claimants are no longer able to claim the entire rental amount from the local authority.

33% of the UK landlords surveyed admitted having severe reservations concerning the reliability of payments from LHA tenants, and as a result they were either planning to or considering no longer accepting benefit claimants as tenants.

29% of landlords had already gone through the process of tenant eviction with LHA tenants or had refused to renew the tenancies of benefit claimants when they came to an end.

36% also admitted that they were experiencing increased rental arrears from LHA tenants because of the changes to benefit payment levels made last year.

Landlords can safely and legally recover rent arrears/debts from all types of tenants, including absconded tenants by using Legal 4 Landlords professional services

Welfare Reform Minister, Lord Freud, didn’t see the results of the Government commissioned report as worrying, stating that: “The research gives us an early insight into what is really happening, and it shows that the many scare stories about the effects of housing benefit reform are simply not materialising.”

If that were true, why are an increasing number of UK landlords wrongly avoiding accepting LHA tenants?
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to get regualr direct payments from any Local authority – Get “The Landlords Essential LHA Handbook” by John Paul – The LHA Expert

Help the RLA

Join The Residential Landlords Association

Details of the Government’s new procedures for the payment of universal credit have been released – and they confirm that the landlord’s right to insist on direct rent payments if a tenant is in arrears will be scrapped.

Instead, payments will be made directly to tenants and it will be up to them to pay their rents or not. The proposals will mean the end of direct payment to landlords for rent as we have known it, and the new procedures will apply across the board to local authority tenants, housing association tenants and tenants in the private rented sector.

The RLA has serious concerns about the proposals:

1. No back stop provision under which a landlord can demand payment direct.
2. Lack of clarity/much greater individual discretion in operating these rules because “guidance” replaces regulations.
3. No means of redress for landlords if things go wrong/no rights of appeal.
4. No proposal that the guidance should reflect the landlords interests to make sure that rent is paid and that a roof is kept over the head of the claimant.
5. The whole concept of trying to improve tenant’s responsibility at the cost of much greater risk to landlords with strong likelihood of significantly higher arrears.
6. Much less likelihood of landlords being willing to take on benefit claimants. This could even translate into less likelihood of a willingness to take on claimants who are in work especially part time work because the same rules will apply to them.
7. No provision for first payment of benefit direct to the landlord.
8. We have argued with DWP that there should be a right for landlords to be paid direct payments once there are six weeks arrears and also that the whole system of vulnerability should be assessed according to the tenant’s interest of keeping a roof over their head and the landlord’s interest to receive the money, as well as the public interest of making sure that the benefit is used for its intended purpose.

Richard Jones, the RLA’s policy director, said, “We strongly believe that the Government’s whole approach is flawed and although the objective of helping tenants manage their financial affairs is in isolation a laudable one, the Government has wholly failed to appreciate the consequences of this. There will be a much higher level of arrears, an unwillingness of landlords to house benefit claimants (at a time when there is huge pressure on social housing), increased unwillingness by banks to lend for this kind of property (or increased interest rate to reflect the risk), much higher levels of evictions and much greater homelessness.”

The RLA has produced a briefing note for landlords, and this can be downloaded by clicking here.

What can I do?

Further details will follow about how you can assist the RLA in opposing these proposals.#

Join the Residential Landlords Association

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