National & BPF News

National & BPF News

New Legislation to Allow Tenants to Live Rent Free - yes really

Universal Credit - Worries about experience with direct payments

Selling HMO License Details - Issue raised nationally

Tenancy Deposit Rulings - Yet more concerns for old tenancies

Hot National issues from the Residential Property Committee at the British Property Federation (RPC @ BPF)

Tony represents us on this committee which meets quarterly but is continually active, via it's secretariat, examining impending legislation, lobbying on landlords behalf and keeping us all informed of national issues. Some of the items currently under discussion include:

Legislation to allow tenants to live rent free.

Legislation designed to prevent retaliatory evictions is back on the Government agenda, after it failed to make progress as a Private Members Bill. With extensive lobbying and duff stats from Shelter and Generation Rent, the measures are being considered as a bolt on amendment to the Deregulation Bill going through Parliament now. (Don't ask us how new regulation can be included in a bill to reduce regulation!).

The amendment aims to prevent Section 21 repossession claims where tenants have complained to the local authority. We think the problem has been exaggerated and the solution proposed will result in bogus complaints form tenants hoping to live rent free. These will clog up already overloaded courts and distract Local Authorities from dealing with genuinely bad landlords.

We are opposing the amendment and attempting to make politicians aware of the consequences if it goes through. Tony has a draft alternative means of discouraging retaliatory evictions and is hoping for support from PCC in taking this forward.

Universal Credit (UC)

Reports from pilot areas show slow progress.

Alternative Payment Arrangements (APAs) will replace 'safeguarding' as the way to get landlord direct payment of housing benefit. They have a lot of work to do before the system is fit for purpose.

At Tony's suggestion thr BPF will see if figures are available to compare rent arrears where UC is operating with arrears elsewhere.

Selling of personal details of HMO licence holders

As mentioned in previous News items PCC believe they are legally required to make the personal details of licence holders available to all and sundry. Tony brought this practice to the attention of the committee surprised that only Portsmouth landlords were up in arms about it. The chairman (from Manchester) had wondered why he was getting so much landlord related junk mail to his home address. The secretariat was actioned to take the issue up with the Local Government Association and the Information Commissioner.

Tenancy Deposit Rulings

Yet another appeal court ruling has extended the scope of the legislation to include deposits taken on pre 2007 tenancies. The landlord was unable to serve a S21 notice as the deposit was not protected. The latest advice is that if you have any unprotected deposits, even pre 2007, and you may one day need to evict, you should refund or protect them.

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