We did not publish a newsround last week due to Easter so this is the first newsrund to mention
The End of Section 21
However if you are a regular Landlord Law Blog reader you will know all about this and will have read the articles in our series.
Two more things to draw to your attention though.
1 The recording of our webinar with David Smith which is very informative and sets out all we know so far. You will find it here. It is also on the sidebar for all pages in our End of Section 21 series.
For example David said in our webinar that he did not think many people used section 8 for the grounds for winter lets or ministers of religion. However a lady in the webinar said she used the winter lets ground and I received an email from a solicitor this morning saying they used the ground for Ministers of Religion!
If you don’t tell people they won’t know.
Catastrophic Legal Aid advice deserts
I was very sad to read the Law Society Gazette exposing the catastrophic legal aid advice deserts for housing law.
According to the Society’s interactive map:
- 184 out of 348 local authorities have no housing provider;
- 81 have one provider.
- A further 29 local authorities have two providers,
- 17 have three, and
- Only 37 have more than three.
David Smith put it in perspecitve in our section 21 webinar when he said the whole legal aid budget was less than the cost of the Trump state visit. I think I know what we would all prefer!
Society president Christina Blacklaws said:
More than 21 million people live in a local authority without a single housing legal aid service, leaving pensioners, families with young children, people with disabilities or on low incomes struggling to access the legal advice they are entitled to when they are at their most vulnerable.
AND – even if they can find a lawer they probably won’t be able to afford to travel to Court as so many courts have closed down.
A new enforcement agency
As the lead Estate Agency enforcment agency is based in Powys Wales, that is not going to be much good for enforcing the Tenant Fees Act as it only applies in England. So after a Consultation the job has been given to Bristol.
The two teams, in Bristol and Powys will work together to lead enforcment against both estate and letting agents.
This is what they told me:
A new team has been set up to provide greater protection for renters in England from letting agents who charge illegal tenant fees. This follows legislation that will ban tenant fees in the private sector in England from 1 June 2019. The new enforcement team – being led by National Trading Standards – will be responsible for regulating the private rental sector in England, protecting tenants and safeguarding compliant letting agents.
The team will provide a single combined enforcement function to protect consumers and legitimate businesses in the property sector. It brings together new letting agency enforcement work with the existing regulation of estate agents, which has previously been operated by the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team.
This is what they are going to do:
- oversee the operation of relevant estate and letting agency legislation
- issue prohibition and formal warning orders to those found unfit to engage in estate agency work in the UK
- approve & oversee the UK’s consumer redress schemes, Ombudsmen, and Alternative Dispute Resolution entities in the estate agency sector
- issue guidance and advice for the public, businesses and enforcement authorities on estate agency work in the UK and relevant letting agency work in England.
However as it seems they have a budget of £740,000 pa they are going to find it hard to do all of it.
They are advertising for a new ‘intelligence officer’ who will lead enforcement in England at a salary of £24,799 and £26,999 which is hardly going to attract the high flyers! As the comments on the Eye post show.
You will find their website here.
- The story of five renters in Leeds who won a Rent Repayment Order against their landlord for failing to obtain an HMO license.
- MPs call for new law to scrap ‘no Dss’ clauses in rental adverts (see a recording of the debate here)
- Modular homes to be developed for homeless families in London
- Peers recommend tax incentives for landlords in coastal towns, and finally
- Is it legal to discriminate by astrological signs?