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  • Deposit Protection

    How will the Tenants' Charter work?

    The government announced a raft of new measures to reform the private rented sector this week (see here their press release - https://www.gov.uk/government/news/a-bri...-tenants).

    In addition to a code of practice and a compulsory redress scheme for letting agents, they have announced a 'Tenants' Charter' which is intended to make tenants aware of what to expect from a tenancy and what to do if things go wrong.

    The government rejected a recommendation to conduct wide reaching review to simplify PRS law in favour of improving education in the law as it stands. Although TDS welcomes the charter as a potentially useful resource we have raised a few issues.

    Firstly, how are tenants going to be given access to the Charter? Will landlords and agents be obliged to give it to them, if so how will that be enforced? Otherwise will it just sit on the Government's website?

    There are also some factual points which need to be amended, but despite being published as a draft there appears to be no way of submitting feedback.

    We'd like to know your thoughts.
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    In my opinion it is very simple.

    1. I do not know one landlord who does not want good tenants to stay long term.
    2. The rent increases that we keep hearing about are not happening in most of the country. A thorough investigation of the realities outside of London and the South is needed
    3. Neither landlords nor Lenders will increase the length of tenancies until they are given legislation to remove bad tenants quickly
    4. Local authorities all over the country are failing to use their existing powers to get bad landlords our of the business - how would giving them new powers change this?
    5. Institutional investors will cheery pick their market and will not offer homes to those on benefits and other "difficult" tenant groups, they are unlikely to invest in HMOs other than student homes and therefore affordable housing is a pipe dream. Even RSLs, who are given public funding to offer homes to those in most need, are now cherry picking their tenants and competing with the PRS for "safe" tenants. If they are not fulfilling their role why are they getting my tax pounds to compete with me?

    If Government really want to see the changes to which they aspire they need to do the following

    1. Review the law on Possession and make rent arrears and serious anti social behavior a reason for quick and easy eviction for local authorities, RSLs and the PRS
    2. Make it a criminal offence to claim housing benefit and not pay the rent
    3. Levy heavy fines on local authorities who do not use their existing powers to deal quickly with bad landlords and give them a percentage of the fines that the court impose to pay for the staff needed to carry out this work.
    4. Make a thorough investigation into those "charities" and other organisations who are paid enhanced rent to house and support the most vulnerable people in our society.
    5. Levy heavy fines on local authorities who do not ensure that the tenant named on the tenancy agreement is actually living in local authority properties or those for which benefits are paid.
    6. Make a 12 months rent repayment order obligatory for all landlords who are successfully prosecuted.
    7. Remove Article 4 Directions
    8. Set a national standard fee for HMO licenses
    9. Carry out an annual audit of the results of additional and selective licensing and fine any authority who cannot prove that these measure have improved the PRS.

    Rearranging the deck chairs will not stop the ship from sinking. Serious problems require serious solutions not more regulation where existing regulation is not being enforced.


    My book, where I warn about the storm clouds that are gathering for landlords is here >>> https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1484855337
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    Follow me on Twitter @landlordtweets

    It is a consultation document. The feedback will shape if, when and how it might be rolled out. Still not confirmed that it makes sense.
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    John Corey 


    I host the London Real Estate Meet on the 2nd Tuesday of every month since 2005. If you have never been before, email me for the 'new visitor' link.

    PropertyFortress.com/Events

    Also happy to chat on the phone. Pay It Forward; my way of giving back through sharing. Click on the link: PropertyFortress.com/Ask-John to book a time. I will call you at the time you selected. Nothing to buy. Just be prepared with your questions so we can use the 20 minutes wisely.

    This is a view from a council enforcement officer

    1. Review the law on Possession and make rent arrears and serious anti social behavior a reason for quick and easy eviction for local authorities, RSLs and the PRS

    Agreed but bear in mind that an amendment to this would require a major shift in the legal system, not just in how it impacts upon landlords and tenants. If allegations are going to be made against people which result in the loss of their home, then there must be some fairly stringent conditions in place if tenants are not to be deprived of their homes homes unnecessarily, although I admit this could be re-examined.

    2. Make it a criminal offence to claim housing benefit and not pay the rent

    Admittedly a pain in the arse but making a criminal offence of a breach of contract is not going to happen in our judicial system.

    3. Levy heavy fines on local authorities who do not use their existing powers to deal quickly with bad landlords and give them a percentage of the fines that the court impose to pay for the staff needed to carry out this work.

    Obviously as an enforcement officer I love this one but there are legal implications. There is a difference between a local authority exercising their duties and exercising their ‘Powers’, the latter of which are discretionary and open to wide interpretation.


    4. Make a thorough investigation into those "charities" and other organisations who are paid enhanced rent to house and support the most vulnerable people in our society.

    I confess I don’t understand this one, more detail needed.

    5. Levy heavy fines on local authorities who do not ensure that the tenant named on the tenancy agreement is actually living in local authority properties or those for which benefits are paid.

    Well sub-letting of social housing has just last week become a criminal offence, so the legislation is there but the questions is “Will social housing organisations utilise it?” It’s a bit 50/50 at the moment to be honest. In principal I totalyy agree but social landlords will have to implement a range of measures to keep on top of things, including….and I’m in total favour of this, photo ID for tenants….why not?


    6. Make a 12 months rent repayment order obligatory for all landlords who are successfully prosecuted.

    OO yes please

    7. Remove Article 4 Directions – It would certainly get Britain building again.

    8. Set a national standard fee for HMO licenses

    Totally agree.

    9. Carry out an annual audit of the results of additional and selective licensing and fine any authority who cannot prove that these measure have improved the PRS.

    Again I agree. Good idea.
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    Ben explain why it would be a big change to the legal system.for an early possession after say 1 month has passed since rent should have been paid then the police remove the tenant if they refuse to leave or pay the rent arrears!!??
    Surely the S8 process just has to be adjusted to allow eviction if rent is 1 month in arrears
    Only the section relating to rent payment needs to change.
    So for advance rent one waits until the 2nd rent payment date and if no rent call the police to have tenant removed.
    That is 15 days more than than tenants receive in Australia!!!!
    However it should also be the case that if it turns out that the LL had been paid the rent and used the non-payment excuse to evict the tenant then the LL should be ARRESTED immediately and done for wrongful eviction
    The wrongly evicted tenant should be returned to the property.and should perhaps receive 6 months tenancy free option or compensation equivalent to 6 months rent and deposit.
    Over 150000 tenants were evicted for non-rent payment last year.
    Can you see many of them taking a chance on being banged up for the sake of lying about whether a tenant has paid the rent........................................I can't!!
    Whether FULL rent has been paid is NOT subjective...........................................It either has or hasn't been paid in accordance with the AST.
    I agree with you about ASB; because that is subjective and does need court intervention.
    In practice most LL will wait another week after the 2nd due date for the rent payment just in case of a 'banking glitch'
    Trouble is I have lost count of the tenants who have used that excuse........................they were all lying and were eventually evicted for rent non-payment.
    But there has to be a better way of dealing with early eviction for rent arrears only.
    Timely eviction would transform the lettings industry as LL would no longer be running scared of losing thousands of pounds whilst the useless eviction system wends its merry way.
    Australia doesn't have a homeless problem because of their eviction laws.
    Savvy tenants would ALWAYS pay their full rent as then the LL has to go through the normal S21 or S8 process to evict; as long as the tenant continues to pay rent the LL will not be able to have tenant removed until the court action and bailiffs do it.
    So to really p--s off your LL who wants to get rid of you; just keep paying the rent!!
    The rent would be that which is on the AST and would not be increased unless the usual stuff has been gone through.
    PRS LL need to be encouraged to rent to all tenant types.
    Changing the eviction laws for rent arrears only is the only way to do this.
    Trouble is we know this will never happen as govt cannot countenance the idea of 150000 homeless ex -tenants.
    I guarantee to you the govt have nothing to worry about.
    Most people would support such immediate eviction for rent arrears only; just like they agree with the OBC and spare room subsidy for social tenants.
    The biggest assistance govt could give the PRS and RSL is to change the eviction laws.
    Just this one change would have saved me losses of over £200000!!!!!
    One reason I won't be paying tax for as long as I live!!!
    All we LL want is the opportunity to provide a good service to ANY tenant type with the proviso that if they fail to pay rent in accordance with their AST that they MAY be removed if the LL so desires almost immediately without needing recourse to courts by the LL with police assistance if necessary.
    This is not unreasonable I feel for provision of such a service as LL provide.
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    That sounds very reasonable to me.
    This single, factual, serious breach of contract should be grounds for immediate termination of said contract. As you say, it would be up to the landlord to get his facts right or be liable to serious compensation claim from a tenant.
    As a LL, you might want to insist tenant must always quote a tenancy reference number on any electronic rent payments just to avoid being 'played' by a cunning tenant?
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    (25-10-2013 08:16 PM)SJBurnell Wrote:  That sounds very reasonable to me.
    This single, factual, serious breach of contract should be grounds for immediate termination of said contract. As you say, it would be up to the landlord to get his facts right or be liable to serious compensation claim from a tenant.
    As a LL, you might want to insist tenant must always quote a tenancy reference number on any electronic rent payments just to avoid being 'played' by a cunning tenant?

    Yep as you suggest LL would have to ensure absolutely that rent payment HADN'T been made.
    So cautious LL will make absolutely sure it hasn't been paid before using a quick eviction facility.
    This would mean in practice a tenant having some extra days to pay the rent and save them from eviction this time.
    This would not necessarily prevent the LL issuing eviction proceedings and providing the tenant carried on paying the rent the tenant would NOT be able to be booted out early.
    So whilst a LL would suffer the usual long eviction process at least the tenant wouldn't have a bad rent payment reference apart from 1 month and 1 day and the LL would receive rent up till the eviction date.
    Thing is we are talking so much hot air as govt will NEVER change the eviction laws in cases of non-rent payment.
    Govt will suffer ultimately as LL withdraw from the HB market and renting to other riskier tenant types.
    LL just cannot afford the risk of lengthy eviction processes which invariably involve no rent payments for about 9 months.
    For a lot of LL this is unsustainable and so they are forced to make pragmatic decisions as to whom they rent to.
    The eviction laws in the UK are just NOT fit for purpose; something govt seemingly refuses to recognise and do something about it!
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