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Con/LibDem proposals for Housing law reform – not

No change in housing law is propolsedHousing Law Reform

Information is gradually filtering through about the current coalition governments intention for housing law reform. Basically they aren’t going to do any!

Grant Shapps said in the House of Commons yesterday :

It is important that we strike the right balance between tenants and landlords. The current legislative framework, which I have been looking at closely, does exactly that. We therefore have no plans to take forward the previous Government’s ideas about further regulatory measures on this subject.

The one thing which will be going ahead is the proposed change of the AST high rent limit to £100,00. This has already been set in motion, has almost universally hailed as a ‘good thing’ and, crucially, will not cost them anything.

However:

  • The landlords register proposed by Labour will not now be going ahead. Landlords up and down the country will be cheering at this as the proposal was most unpopular
  • Letting agent regulation also will not be going ahead. This is less popular (other than among cowboy letting agents) as regulation of the letting agency industry is something which agent bodies, such as ARLA have been calling for, for some time. Still, there is no doubt that it would have cost at least something, and could have been expensive, so it had to go
  • Mandatory tenancy agreements would also have involved a cost as no doubt there would have to have been working parties to consider what if any prescribed terms they should have in them, so that is out of the window also
  • The Mumsnet/Tripadvisor website was never seriously on the agenda and unsurprisingly there are no plans to implement this!
  • Likewise the tenants advice line, although as has been pointed out, there are already services tenants can use, for example the Shelter helpline on 0808 800 4444.
  • The planning law changes brought in by Labour look as if they are going to stay, although Mr Shapps has said he is going to ‘look at them’.
  • The government indicates that it will expect local authorities to deal with rogue landlords under the powers they already have rather than introduce new regulation.

Interestingly things may be different in Wales.  The PainSmith blog reports that the Welsh Assembly still wishes to go ahead with registering landlords and regulating agents and will be seeking authority to do this.

What are your views on all this?  Do you think it was always inevitable that these proposals be ditched, or do you think they should still have gone ahead?  If so, which ones do you think should have been kept?



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2 Responses to Con/LibDem proposals for Housing law reform – not

  1. Cant say I was surprised about the trip adviser thing. When the NHS did a similar feedback site they had to employ moderators to police it for liable (or slander, can never remember which is which) so as an information resource it was less than useless.

    Personally I think it would have been unrealistic to expect landlords to have the necessary knowledge it would have required. They want to earn money by renting property, they dont want to have to learn housing law, but I think the decision not to regulate agents is depressing. They are providing a profesional service and in my experience are often as clueless as Dave down the pub, and at the worst extreme wilfully dodgy.

    Many of the agents I encounter on a daily basis rip off tenants and landlords together and some of them tread very close to lines of criminal behaviour in terms of harassment and even illegal eviction.

    Grant Shapps refers to the small number of rogue landlords and agents out there. The amount may be small compared to the amount of landlords and agents nationally but but in a local, particularly inner city community, there are enough of them to keep a council’s housing advisers working permanent overtime

  2. I wonder if the tripadvisor suggestion wasn’t a tongue in cheek thing to wind up landlords. The last administration got a bit slap happy towards the end.




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About the post author:

Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is a lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law. She runs the Landlord Law website (now in its 12th year) and is a director of Easy Law Training Ltd and Your Law Store. Tessa also sits on the Property Redress Scheme Council. When not working she enjoys reading, cooking and messing around on the computer. You can also find her on Google



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Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.


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