Law Reform from landlords
Reading the excellent Landlord & Buy to Let Magazine today, I came across an article about the Residential Landlords Association’s submission to government with their top law reforms. I thought you might be interested.
These are the proposals:
1. Self regulation
It is proposed that landlords who are members of approved regulation schemes should be able to regulate themselves rather than be subject to Local Authority control. This, it is claimed, would leave the Local Authorities free to pursue the real offenders.
Comment. Allowing Local Authorities to concentrate their resources sounds like a good idea, but I am very uneasy about self regulation for landlords.
2. Power of entry
Local authorities should let landlords know if they use their power of entry in respect of their rented properties.
3. Tenancy deposit information
The current rules require information to be provided which is already available to tenants from the schemes. It is suggested that the rules be simplified
Comment: It would also be helpful if there was a prescribed form.
4. Tenancy deposit penalty
This, it is claimed, is unfair, as there is no power to mitigate the penalty, and minor transgressions and ‘wilful flouting’ are currently treated the same.
Comment. Many Judges are uneasy about this also. We are all waiting for the Court of Appeal decision in the Tiensia case which will hopefully shed more light on how these regulations are to be dealt with in the courts.
5. Obtaining possession
It is suggested that obtaining a possession order under s21 through the courts is unnecessary, as protection can be given to tenants more simply and cheaply by requiring the use of a certificated bailiff
Comment. Call me an old fashioned solicitor, but I am seriously alarmed by this proposal. I discussed some of this issues in this post here. Evicting someone from their home is a serious matter. I think it needs a court order.
6. Obtaining possession where the landlord has a right to get the property back
The paper procedure (presumably the accelerated possession procedure) should be extended to other cases where the court has no option but to grant a possession order.
Comment. When the accelerated procedure first came in it was also available for claims for possession under ground 1 (owner occupiers). Later it was restricted to section 21 claims. Does anyone know why this was?
7. Evicting squatters
Landlords should be entitled to evict squatters without obtaining a court order, using certificated bailiffs.
Comment. I think the courts should still be involved but I think there is scope for simplifying the procedure and making it quicker. Note that anyone faced with squatters should take a look at my Evicting Squatters site.
8. Fire safety
The fire safety legislation (say the RLA) is complex and conflicting. It is suggested that this would be best dealt with under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.
9. Administration charges:
This refers to notice under the 2002 Commonhold Leasehold Reform Act being required for charges for short residential lets, which is considered inappropriate. Particularly as tenants under shorthold tenancies are protected anyway under consumer legislation.
Well, those are the proposals, and and those are my comments. What do you think about it? And are there any other proposals which you think should be included?
Mine would be to brush the dust off the Law Commissions Renting Homes report and bill, and consider bringing it into law.