Most of the housing-related news this week seems to be on reports about various issues. So let’s take a look at a few of them.
A Housing Court unnecessary
The Civil Justice Council does not support a Housing Court
Despite having the support of a number of practitioners, the Civil Justice Council has come down against a specialist Housing Court. Here are its reasons:
- Delays are more due to a lack of court resources and bailiffs that Judges
- If more specialist Judges were needed this could best be dealt with by a ticketing system (as is used in family work)
- the court reform programme and the digitalisation of procedures within the courts and tribunal service has not yet been completed or evaluated
- Many delays are actually caused by landlords’ and agents’ errors and lack of knowledge of the technical requirements when granting assured shorthold tenancies – which would be the same whether or not there was a Housing Court
- Delays are also often caused because the parties (particularly tenants) do not have proper advice and support, and also
- Many housing cases involve complex technical arguments on the law of contract, tort, equity and public law, and these are best heard in a mainstream civil court.
They all sound sensible. What do you think?
Boardrooms worried about housing
A report today in Property Industry Eye shows businesses are concerned at the negative impact of the housing crisis on their businesses, 55% saying that they have lost staff because employees either cannot afford to live in the area or are unwilling to commute.
According to 1,000 executives polled by Strutt & Parker, 73% say they are struggling to recruit. Solutions under consideration including investing in housing for staff or relocating to a cheaper area.
The businesses say that the cost of housing has had three major effects on them – it has forced them to pay higher wages, resulted in a lack of skilled workers, and slowed their expansion.
Strutt & Parker also found that housing costs are a deciding factor when it comes to employees deciding whether or not to accept a new job, with 85% saying that it is a critical issue.
Well, Ben and I have been predicting this sort of thing for a while.
Think Tank calls for the abolition of section 21
The Institute for Public Policy Research has published a report calling for England to follow Scotland and abolish the no-fault section 21 procedure for evicting tenants.
They also want to prevent landlords from evicting a family for the first three years if the only reason is to sell the property. Meaning that landlords would only be able to sell to another landlord with the tenant as a sitting tenant.
Other proposals include
- Landlords to be unable to ban tenants on benefits
- Tenants to be allowed to re-decorate properties and
- Keep pets
- A property MOT scheme and
- A national landlords register, and
- A specialist housing court, with access to legal aid
Darren Baxter, IPPR research fellow and co-author of the report, said:
Despite the growth in private renting, the regulation which governs it is unfit for purpose.
Families are exposed to expensive, often poor-quality accommodation and tenants face the threat of a no-fault eviction, with significant costs and practical impacts, including school moves for children.
Increasing security for tenants through an open tenancy and preventing landlords from evicting to sell in the first three years of a tenancy will give much greater stability to families who rent privately, enabling them to make better homes.
Hmm. I wonder how many landlords would sell up in advance if these reforms were ever made?
Energy Performance Target unrealistic
The government has been planning on raising the minimum energy rating of rented properties to level C by 2030 but Ministers have been told by ARLA that this is unrealistic.
The cost of works to bring properties to this level would be uneconomic and many landlords would sell up to avoid this.
David Cox, ARLA Propertymark chief executive, said:
As it stands, the Government’s target for all private rented homes to have an EPC rating of C by 2030 will not be met.
With the collapse of the Green Deal, the private rented sector has been left little in the way of funding in order to raise energy efficiency within the tenure.
- The Guardian reports that half of Magistrates Courts have closed since 2010 meaning staff, JPs and parties now have to travel huge distances
- Generation Rent criticise deposit replacement schemes for having a lack of regulation
- The Government is planning on tightening electrical safety rules for landlords
- The Law Commission have published their consultation paper and key facts document in their residential leasehold Right to Manage project
- A government survey has shown that over half of landlords do not use an agent
- Increased overcrowding in social housing reported
Newsround will be back next week