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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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More Tenants Face Eviction Over Bedroom Tax

More Tenants Face Eviction Over Bedroom Tax

Bedroom Tax Blamed For Increasing
Eviction Numbers

The apparent shortage of 1 and 2 bed properties in either the social or private rented sector means that more tenants are facing eviction for non-payment of the Bedroom Tax because there are no suitable properties available for them to move into.

Mark Rogers, Chief Executive of the Circle Housing Group, one of the UK’s largest housing associations managing 65,000 residential properties, has warned of a rise in tenant evictions because of the government’s new under-occupancy penalty, more commonly known as the bedroom tax.

Mr Rogers said “It is inevitable that there will be a long-term increase in the number of people failing to pay their rent as there are simply not enough vacant smaller properties for people affected to move into to avoid the charge. Circle Housing Group are offering tenants financial advice and encouraging those affected to look at a house exchange scheme, which has seen a 26% rise, but an increase in evictions is also to expected. The under-occupation charge is hitting a lot of people very hard, as you would expect. They are losing money and by the very nature of being on benefits, they are on very low incomes. People can’t down-size because there aren’t enough properties for them to move in to. We did a survey and one finding was that if you let every single bedroom that came vacant, and you housed an under-occupier there, it would take eight years to clear the backlog. Our view is that  for the vast majority the transfer system is untenable. We won’t evict someone if we can’t find a solution for them. If they don’t take that solution that we offer, then we will evict, but we see it as our job to make sure we don’t go down that route. If that happens we see it as a failure; it is expensive to the local authority, it is expensive to the person, traumatic for the person, often not good for the community. We see evictions generally as a last resort. From our perspective I think as time goes on they will go up a little but our plan is that by using our solutions we minimise the impact.”

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UK residential mortgage lending made a dramatic recovery in May 2012 after the sharp decline caused by the end of the stamp duty concession at the end of March.

The Council for Mortgage Lenders (CML) claimed that the amount of residential mortgage loans advanced to property buyers increased by 33% from in April 2012 to 48,300 in May 2012 resulting in overall mortgage lending being 25% higher than at the same point in 2011

The CML put the rise in first-time buyer activity down to the market bouncing back from the temporary slump that came with the reintroduction of 1% stamp duty at the end of March 2012.

CML’s Director General, Paul Smee, said: “The slump following the end of the stamp duty concession seems to have been short-lived. Lending is similar to late 2011 levels and showing a healthy improvement on the same time last year.”

Despite some 18,100 first-time buyer mortgage loans worth £2.3 Billion (GBP) increasing by more than 20% compared with May 2011.

Mr Smee urged caution amid the ongoing Eurozone crisis stating “Economic uncertainty could affect both the supply of mortgage lending and consumer confidence and we still anticipate a challenging lending environment for the rest of the year.”

Gross mortgage lending declined to an estimated £10.2 Billion (GBP) in April 2012.

Mortgage lending fell by 19% from £12.6 Billion (GBP) in March 2012 but was 2% higher than the total of £10.0 Billion (GBP) in April 2011, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

CML chief economist Bob Pannell comments:“Mortgage lending activity has been relatively buoyant in recent months, with stronger lending for house purchase underpinning the more upbeat lending picture. The underlying picture is likely to be a bit stronger than the April figure suggests, because some first-time buyers are likely to have brought forward their transactions to March 2012 to take advantage of the stamp duty concession that was coming to an end in March 2012. Eurozone developments remain highly uncertain and have the potential to undermine UK economic prospects and conditions in our housing and mortgage markets. The underlying picture is likely to be one of easing momentum in the housing market, but with potential for a sharper downwards correction on bad Eurozone news.”

Institutional Investment is needed in UK Buy To Let Sector

Institutional Investment is needed in UK Buy To Let Sector

The Council of Mortgage Lenders, (CML), think the coalition Government’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne should be doing more to encourage institutional investors to take a stake in Buy To Let property in the upcoming Budget.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders are the trade body for all the UK’s major bank and building society residential mortgage lenders.

The CML claim encouraging pension funds and corporate investors is a neglected policy that could provide the cash for more UK homes that can be made available to rent.

The suggestion is part of a wide-ranging Budget review aimed at influencing the Chancellor to ease the mortgage market. The submission also criticises current housing policies, including:

• Stamp duty holidays for first time buyers, which the CML claims creates a boom and bust market around deadline dates
• Paying housing benefits direct to claimants may damage landlord cash flows and lead to unnecessary mortgage arrears and repossessions
• Making better use of housing stock as, the CML states, most of the homes available over the next 20 years have already been built

The CML has told the Chancellor that given the vulnerabilities and uncertainties, it is important to make sure that all avenues, for strengthening and diversifying funding structures, have been explored.

The CML have also noted that the government continues to explore the obstacles to greater institutional investment in the supply of private rental property, but, strangely, the further scope for promoting domestic institutional investor interest in mortgage assets seems to be a neglected area of policy.

The Budget report also points out that UK banks and building societies rely heavily on raising funds from wholesale markets which are currently challenged by the Eurozone debt problems.

“Funding costs remain higher than a year ago, and the UK remains vulnerable to future eurozone developments. Given that current market conditions are somewhat fragile, it is very important that other government policies do not undermine housing market sentiment more generally. We believe that there are a few areas where policies are not as well aligned as they could be.” says the CML.

The CML’s calls echo the sentiment of many existing UK landlords who have had to search for a variety of additional landlord services such as insurance, tenant referencing and tenant eviction services from private sector specialist suppliers, in order to remain in a profitable situation.

With institutional investment into the UK private rented sector (PRS) specialist products and services for landlords will be enhanced for the corporate market and derivatives would be more affordable and even more readily available.

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