A fair number of things happening on landlord and tenant so lets start.
Longer tenancies consultation
The government has woken up to the fact that many people (although not all) are unhappy at only ever having six months secuirty of tenure at any one time and has announced a consultation on longer tenancies.
This is an important topic and everyone should submit their views – which you can do here.
The consultation will end on 26 August 2018.
Views and comments on the suggestions
The government has put forward several suggestions in the consultaiton ranging from allowing a six months break clause to giving tax incentives.
Inevitably there has been discussion and speculation.
The Labour party think it does not go far enough, John Healey saying:
This latest promise is meaningless if landlords can still force tenants out by hiking up the rent.
However the government have rules out rent restirctions saying that history shows that it does not work.
Thr National Landlords Association views it as a vote catching ploy only citing research they have done which shows that tenants are on the whole happy. The RLA however are pleased that the Government is considering their taxation suggestion although warn about enforcing longer terms.
David Smith, policy director at the RLA, said:
With landlords having faced a barrage of tax increases, we believe that smart taxation, such as that being proposed today, would provide the longer term homes to rent many families and older people want.
“We would warn against making it a statutory requirement to introduce three-year tenancies. Many tenants simply do not want to be tied to a property long term. It is vital that the market is able to provide the flexibility that many need in order to swiftly access new work and educational opportunities.
The Guardian comments that the plans could have a dramatic impact on the buy to let industry
The six-month and one-year contracts gave lenders the confidence to grant mortgages against properties where they knew they could repossess the property at short notice if necessary. But a three-year term is likely to make lenders wary about granting loans, or they may increase the interest rate to reflect the additional risk.
Landlords ‘Get Living’ who are behind the East Village in London and who are a build to rent company think 3 year tenancies are a good idea. However the CIA who represent rural land owners, believes that it will encouarge their members to turn to holiday lets, meaning fewer rented homes in the countryside.
Londoners leaving London
There are a few articles about the fact that many Londoners, particuarly in their 30’s are leaving London for a better (and more affordable) life outside the capital. For example this article which says that the only age moving to London are people in their 20’s who are most likley students.
If you are going to leave London, 30 is a good age to go – it was around that age that I moved away from South London and up to Norwich where we have been very happy.
A worrying time for agents
There are several reports on bad times coming for estate and letting agents, who are due to lose about 20% of their income when the tenant fee ban comes into force next year.
For example this report in the Guardian thinks that 7,000 firms are at risk and reports that 150 wnt insolvent last year.
Large firms Countrywide and the ‘love them or hate them’ Foxtons are in difficuties which is said to be symptomiatic of the hostile environment for agents at the moment.
The government has indicated that it will be up for providing additional funding to Local Authorities to help them enforce the ban, although they have stopped short of saying that Councils will be able to confiscate properties.
No change to HHSRS
The government has been criticised by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) for failing to commit to updating the Housing Health and Safety Rating System which was introduced in April 2006 as a method for local authorities to assess the safety of rente properties.
A survey of environmental health professionals, published by CIEH in December 2017, found that 97% of environmental health professionals believe that the HHSRS needs updating, 90% called for an update of the official guidance and better working examples, 71 respondents called for underlying statistics of this evidence-based system to be updated, while 53% said that they had witnessed hazards that could not be addressed with the current system.
But the government it seems is unwilling to comit to doing anything just now, probably because most of its civil servants are tied up with Brexit.
But the CIEH think that their response is not good enough.
A knotty weed problem
There are several reports on a recent case where property owners suceeded in holding Network Rail were held liable for damage done by japanese knotweed, which can severely damage properties once it gets a hold.
- The government has published a new guide on Right to Rent
- Agents have been fined after 11 people were found crammed into a 3 bedroom house
- Consumer organisation Which? have launched a #RentRage campaign
- Labour have announced plans for healthy homes zones
- Lodon Mayor Sadiq Khan has written a joint article wirg the Mayor of Barcelona saying that city proerties should be treated as homes rather than investments.
An agent bites back
This report on Property Industry Eye tells of a letting agent who refused to put up with a bad Google review from a less than satisfactory tenant and published a pungent answer.
Read all about it here.
Newsround will be back next week.