Today (11 September 2014) has seen three significant announcements by the DCLG – as follows:
1. Retaliatory evictions
In 2007, the CAB published a report called ‘The Tenant’s Dilemma‘. This was all about the problem of tenants being scared to report disrepair to their landlords because their landlords might evict them.
As indeed some do – not all landlords but a significant proportion.
It now looks as if something is going to be done about it. In July a liberal MP called Sarah Teather tabled a private members bill called the Tenants Reform Bill which hopes to end this practice.
I have not seen a copy of the bill but I understand that the way it will work will by extending the existing restrictions on a landlords power to evict under section 21 by including situations where a health and safety hazard has been identified by Environmental Health Officers.
The announcement today confirmed that the government have given it their backing, in principle.
Of course the devil will be in the detail and it will be interesting to see what the bill actually says. If anyone can forward a copy of it to me I would be grateful.
2. Model tenancies
These have been published on the Gov.uk website and can be found here.
I have not had time to look at these in detail but they are fairly long and include ‘guidance’. They can be completed online or downloaded and completed manually.
Needless to say, all of us who provide tenancy agreements will need to consider these carefully and perhaps revise our own agreements in the light of them.
3. Private Rented Sector Code
This is most welcome and is something that has been needed for a long time. It is intended to be used by landlords, and letting and management agents in the private rented sector.
So now whenever there is a dispute we have something to refer to. Clause 1.2 provides that where the code says ‘must’ this is a legal requirement. When it says ‘should’ this indicates best practice.
However so far as agents are concerned, probably all of it can be considered mandatory, as it will be the default code which they will be judged by in any complaint made to their statutory redress scheme – and all agents and property managers will need to be a member of a redress scheme by 1 October 2014.
I will be writing a lot more about all three of these initiatives in the future so watch this space.