Renters' Reform Bill: what will it mean for you?
People who want to be a buy to let landlord will need to think long and hard once the proposed Renters' Reform Bill comes in to force. The new legislation will have some serious implications for landlords and the planned changes will undoubtedly make some people think twice. ‘Accidental’ landlords - rather than those investing in property as a business - will be most affected. For example two people who owned their own flats then became a couple and let out one property, or those who have inherited a property and hope to supplement their income from it.
In principle the Government wants to give renters greater security - and that cannot be a bad thing. But that protection must be mirrored landlord to tenant, not skewed in favour of one party. For the professional landlord, property investment is always a long term strategy, but for those dipping in and out, it cannot be wrong for them to consider more liquid investments and that requires a fair and workable mechanism for them to ask tenants to leave.
There has always been reasonable demand for pre-let properties and ground 2 of the Housing Act 1988 already serves to protect the landlord who is letting out a home they have previously lived in by giving them extra rights to get possession.
Surely it cannot be a good move to limit evictions, particularly where there is a genuine case of anti-social behaviour. Not only is this unfair to the landlord, but where the tenant in question is renting a flat or community development, then other property owners’ lives are affected and the value of their properties impacted. There is a clear need for fast track processes for cases of antisocial behaviour, especially where the police are involved and this is certainly something we would like to see addressed in the forthcoming legislation.
Landlords have suffered enough during the pandemic and must have fair powers to address non-payment when it continues month after month. We also need escalated eviction procedures for those tenants whose behaviour is menacing. So we say any reform that restricts a landlord’s ability to get tenants out MUST be balanced with a support mechanism to help them remove problem tenants.
Rogue tenants will always exist. This will never change, so I am not in favour of enforcing longer tenancies. Social housing providers grant a one year tenancy to earn the right to a longer agreement. This seems a reasonable 'getting to know you’ deal which could easily be replicated in the PRS.
According to a report from the House of Lords’ Select Committee on the Constitution entitled ‘Covid-19 and the Courts’ earlier this year, there is no official number put on outstanding housing possession claims but, with a serious backlog pre-pandemic, we know the situation is now severe. This cannot be improved by making it harder for landlords to repossess their homes which will only serve to create further disputes. And it will undoubtedly drive some landlords out of the sector.
There is now a serious shortfall of rental homes right across the country – with supply an estimated 46% lower than this time 12 months ago. Anything that restricts supply is no good for the market.
Author : Maryanne Bowring
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