Posts from October 2019

As has been widely anticipated the requirement for landlords to have 5 year electrical safety checks at their properties is likely to come into force next year. On October 25th 2019 the Government will lay further regulation under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 which paves the way for the Secretary of State to make the regulations about how electrical checks will occur. Whilst that does not mean that certification will be required immediately it is almost certain this will become a requirement in 2020 and probably sooner rather than later. There is still some uncertainty on whether this will simply apply to new tenancies in the short term and whether there will be a transitional period for existing tenancies. We hope the Regulations once published will provide more clarity! 
The Government has proposed the abolition of the Section 21 Notice which provides landlords with an accelerated process to regain possession of a property. 
This has already gained cross party support and so there is likely to be a debate at some stage in the future which will result in changes to the Housing Act legislation.  
So briefly what is about? 
Landlords can regain possession of the property using the Section 21 notice without providing reasons to the tenant. 
Alternatively a Section 8 Notice can be served if any of the Grounds in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act are met. There are mandatory grounds where a Court must allow repossession of the property and there are discretionary grounds where a Court may allow the property to be repossessed. 
There is a consensus among the political parties to update the housing legislation to provide a stable living environment for tenants whilst at the same time providing adequate protection for landlords to enable them to regain possession of the property. There is a belief among some that Landlords use the Section 21 legislation to evict tenants who are perceived to be troublesome. Whilst that can be true, more often than not it is because the process around regaining possession of a property using Section 8 can be more problematical and in particular where there are rent arrears, this can fail very easily. What is significant is that the vast majority of tenancies are ended by tenants rather than landlords. 
The removal of Section 21 may not be the big crisis for landlords that is being suggested, provided that the Section 8 process is improved. 
Landlords must have adequate redress which is timely particularly when dealing with rent arrears, regaining possession for themselves or a family member to live in the property, or to regain possession when the tenants behaviour has been violent or is construed to be anti-social. 
the legislation may actually be fairly straight-forward to improve, the court process and timeliness of that may prove problematical. 
The Government survey is on the attached link and is available for a short period of time to complete and add your views. 
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