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RLA find errors in wording of proposed deregulation act

RLA find errors in wording of proposed deregulation act

RLA Find Serious Drafting Error In Rented Housing Regulations Of Proposed Deregulation Bill

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) have called on the Government to delay the implementation of the proposed Deregulation Act after they found errors in the wording of the document that would expose private rental sector landlords to a legal minefield.

The RLA published the following on their newshub

A major drafting error in Government regulations affecting the private rented sector risks undermining confidence in new legislation being applied to the sector.

The Deregulation Act, passed prior to the General Election, provides Ministers with the power to introduce a new standard form for landlords to complete and provide to a tenant when seeking to regain possession of a property on a no fault basis, known as a Section 21 notice.

With the form due to become legally binding from the 1st October, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has written to the Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, to seek a delay following the revelation of a serious drafting error.

The standard form, as currently drafted, notes that where a fixed term tenancy ends and then turns into a rolling or periodic tenancy the Section 21 notice would only be valid for four months from the date that it is served on the tenant*.

This contradicts the Deregulation Act, which makes clear that the required period to regain possession of a property where a tenancy is a rolling or periodic tenancy, should instead be four months from the date the Section 21 notice expires**.

Despite having engaged thoroughly with the Government on its proposals, the final version of the standard form, published last week, had not been shown to the RLA.

The RLA is warning that the drafting exposes landlords to a legal minefield, and is calling for the implementation of the plans to be delayed to give more time to get them right.

RLA policy director, David Smith, said “The RLA continues to share the Government’s ambitions to ensure that all landlords understand and properly implement their legal responsibilities and obligations. In light of the major changes being introduced for the sector it is vital that all documents published by the Government are clearly understood. This drafting error will serve only to dent the confidence of landlords in the legislation. Whilst Ministers are understandably eager not to let these new measures drift, it would make more sense not to rush their implementation than face the potential legal difficulties that will now arise for landlords.”

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PRS Rental Price Growth Stalls

PRS Rental Price Growth Stalls

UK PRS Rental Price Growth Stalls

It was widely expected that UK private rented sector (PRS) rental prices would increase during the course of 2015, due to the lack of available rental properties on the market and continued strong demand from prospective tenants.

However, research by HomeLet found that the pace of rent rises had begun to slow in the three months prior to August 2015. Average PRS rental prices being charged to new tenants were only 1.6% higher than they were at the start of the year compared to the 2.2% rise that had been observed during the three months to August 2015.

PRS rents remain considerably higher than they were when figures are viewed on an annual basis, with average rental prices reaching £992 (GBP) in the three months to August, 10.5% higher than August 2014. 

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Right To Rent Immigration Checks Making PRS Landlords Over Cautious

Right To Rent Immigration Checks Making PRS Landlords Over Cautious

Lawful Tenants Refused Rental Properties
Because Of Right To Rent Immigration Checks

Right to Rent immigration checks could cause more UK private rented sector (PRS) landlords to refuse tenancy applications from lawful tenants because they are over cautious about letting to tenants with foreign accents and names or have unfamiliar identity documents.

According to the Residential Landlords Association, (RLA), the complexity of the Government’s plans to turn landlords into unpaid Border Agency staff could see lawful tenants being refused housing.

The warning comes as new research by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) indicates the difficulties caused by the Government’s Right to Rent scheme, originally piloted in the West Midlands, concluding that UK PRS landlords Right to Rent checks have resulted in discrimination against tenants who appear “foreign”.

The JCWI research discovered that:

  • 42% of landlords were less likely to consider tenant applications from someone who did not have a British passport,
  • 27% of landlords were reluctant to engage with tenancy applications from people with foreign accents or names

Under the new immigration bill, PRS landlords are set to be legally responsible for checking the immigration status of tenants. Following the pilot scheme in the West Midlands, the Government recently announced that the immigration checks by landlords would be expanded nationwide, with landlords facing up to five years in prison for failure to undertake the Right to Rent checks.

Residential Landlords Association policy director, David Smith, said: “Whilst the RLA opposes discrimination against tenants because of their race or nationality, the Government’s plans are causing confusion and anxiety for many landlords. If the Government expect landlords to act as border police it should provide the training and material needed to give them the confidence to carry out the checks required of them. In the absence of such support, today’s research sadly shows the inevitable consequences of the policy which the RLA has long voiced concerns about. Faced with considerable sanctions, landlords will inevitably play it safe where a tenant’s identity documents are either unclear or simply not known to them. It is concerning that the Government remains committed to rolling out the Right to Rent policy nationwide without first publishing its assessment of the impact it has had in its own pilot area. Ministers should halt plans to proceed with its rollout to allow time for proper scrutiny and consideration of the impact it is likely to have.”

The research by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants comes before the publication of the Home Office’s own assessment of the Right to Rent pilot scheme detailing its level of effectiveness.

There seems to be a huge communication breakdown somewhere, we as landlords are now unpaid members of the UK Border Agency, like it or not, we mustn’t discriminate against any tenant applicant because it is an “ism” and can be punished by imprisonment and a large fine, however, if we house someone in need, we leave ourselves open to prosecution and a large fine. If we act in a professional manner, we are accused of not caring, but if we have too much contact with tenants we are seen as overbearing and interfering. If we spend money on properties we are seen as rich money grabbers that are open to exploitation and if we don’t spend vast amounts to correct damage caused by tenant lifestyles as and when tenants demand then we are called tight and heartless. Homeless charities want the UK PRS closed down, the Government want as much of our profits as they can get their hands on and the media think we are all descendants of Rachman and Rigsby – How is the system supposed to work?

Landlords Face Tougher Penalties Under Immigration Bill Proposals

Landlords Face Tougher Penalties Under Immigration Bill Proposals

Landlords Must Evict Illegal Immigrants Or Face Prison Under New Immigration Bill Proposals

It has been announced that UK private rented sector (PRS) landlords could face a 5 year prison sentence if they fail to conduct proper ‘Right to Rent’ checks included in new Government proposals for the Immigration Bill

The proposed changes to legislation will require PRS landlords to verify the immigration status of all prospective tenant applicants, before tenancies are agreed. Any landlord who repeatedly fails to conduct these checks would be in breach of a new offence, carrying maximum penalties of five years’ imprisonment or a fine.

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What Does The Future Really Hold For PRS Landlords?

What Does The Future Really Hold For PRS Landlords?

Are PRS Landlords Any Better Off
After The Election?

UK private rental sector landlords may have breathed a sigh of relief after the general election results were announced last week, but is the future still rosy for the PRS?

Conservatives Vowed To Leave PRS Landlords AloneThe Conservatives may have been voted into Government by a small majority over the other political rivals, but will all the election promises be kept or is it more likely that we will see additional legislation concerning rent caps, longer tenancies and changes to tenant’s rights being introduced via other means?

The way I see it, the future under a Conservative Government will be no different from the experiences of the last 5 years.
The main targets will still be PRS landlord’s and letting agents and the victims will always be the tenants.

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Tenants Fighting Each Other Over Rental Properties As Supply Drops And Demand Increases

Tenants Fighting Each Other Over Rental Properties As Supply Drops And Demand Increases

Tenants Fighting Each Other Over Rental Properties
As Supply Drops And Demand Increases

Tenants looking to rent in the UK’s private rented sector face competition from other would be tenants as demand increases and supply contracts, according the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).

ARLA’s latest report has discovered that 68% of landlords surveyed reported more interested tenants than available rental properties.

This is the largest successive increase in tenant demand in the last 12 months, with tenant demand figures up from 46% in Q3 2013, 54% in Q1 2014, 59% in Q2 2014; meaning an increase of 9% between the second and third quarters of the year to date.

The tenant demand data is reinforced by the fact that supply of suitable rental properties in the private rental sector has decreased in the last quarter, with ARLA letting agent members recording a 6% drop in the average number of managed Buy To Let properties on their books, down from 143 to 135 per member agency.

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MPPT Spotlight are focusing on Tenants this week with a series of articles on getting the best out of tenant

MPPT Spotlight are focusing on Tenants this week with a series of articles on getting the best out of tenants

Tenants Admit Having Problems With Landlords And Letting Agents

55% of tenants in the UK’s private rented sector (PRS) have experienced problems with their landlord or their appointed letting agents according to the latest research from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).

The most common issue which affected 31% of PRS tenants was the length of time taken to fix problems in rental properties including issues with boilers, heating and electrical outlets.

Once a problem was raised, tenants have waited an average of 36 days for the problem to be fully resolved. However over 14% of PRS tenants never had their rental property problems fixed at all, according to the research.

18% of tenants surveyed also reported frustrating delays with landlords not replacing worn out fixtures and fittings on demand, including requests to replace old or damaged kitchen cupboards or tired and worn carpets.

14% of the tenants surveyed, felt that their complaints about repair issues were either ignored or brushed off by landlords or their appointed letting agents.

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More Details Emerge On Government Demand For Transparency Over Letting Agent Fees

More Details Emerge On Government Demand For Transparency Over Letting Agent Fees

More Details Emerge From Government
On Letting Agent Fees Debate

The Government have declared that all UK letting agents and property management agents must display full details of all fees charged to tenants on websites and in offices.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg faced a tough grilling at his House Of Commons session from Labour MP Harriet Harman, who wanted the Government to back the ban on letting agents charging fees to tenants.

Ms Harman told MPs: “Not least because of the difficulties of affording to buy a home, there are now 9 million people renting, including 1.3 million families with children – security and continuity are particularly important for them. It is time to move from one-year tenancies with unpredictable rents to three-year tenancies with predictable rents. What we need to be sure is that letting agents do not rip tenants off by charging fees to the tenants, as well as charging the landlords.”

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Insurance Statistics Prove Students Are The Best Tenants

Insurance Statistics Prove Students Are The Best Tenants

Insurance Statistics Prove Students Are The Best Tenants

A survey carried out by the National Landlords Association (NLA) in 2013 found that students are some of the best tenant types housed in the PRS as they are less likely to miss rent and student properties tend to offer better returns.

Now, fresh research by Total Landlord Insurance in 2014 also shows that students are the most reliable tenants in the private rented sector (PRS) as only 9.6% of insurance claims come from student properties, the second lowest of any tenant group, so there may be something to the claims after all, who would have thought?

The average insurance claim made by the landlord of a student property was £2,090.18 (GBP) in 2013, compared to £6,072.97 (GBP) for a typical residential property housing tenants claiming state benefits. 

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Survey Finds 30% of Tenants Quit Rental Properties Due To Poor Standards

Survey Finds 30% of Tenants Quit Rental Properties Due To Poor Standards

Landlords Need To Take Note Of Survey Findings
To Attract And Keep Good Tenants

One in three current PRS tenants have quit properties and ended tenancies within the UK private rental sector due to lack of repairs by landlords and the overall poor condition of rental properties in general.

These shocking tenant revelations are from a survey carried out on behalf of the National Landlords Association (NLA) by shower manufacturer Methven, last month.

The survey of PRS tenants discovered that poor quality fixtures and fittings in rental properties are a major cause of grievances and less than 10% of tenants who took part in the survey were completely happy with the condition of the property they were currently renting.

Over 60% of private rented sector tenants who took part in the survey said the standard of bathroom fixtures in rental properties is below average with 16% reporting that standards were poor. A further 53% claimed a good shower is an essential feature of a good rental property, which is good news for the shower manufacturers conducting the survey.

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