Friday Newsround is here again. What have we for you?
The General Data Protection Regulation is now law and I am sure you are all totally fed up with the barrage of emails we have all been receiving from any company whose links we ever clicked, desperate to retain our consent to email.
I sent some too, but not to you about this blog – if you get these blog posts by email – as you have already consented, when you signed up to get them. Although if you want to unsubscribe there will be a link in the email.
Hopefully, people will now calm down about it all.
PRS Exemptions Register
Landlords can legally avoid bringing their property up to the minimum energy performance band E or above if they have a valid exemption. You can now search to see if your landlord has done this as a new PRS exemptions register search page has now gone live.
You can find out more about it on the Property Industry Eye post here.
Incidentally, it looks as if Wales is going to be the first place where mortgage offers will take into account energy performance.
Tenant fees bill
This has been voted through the House of Commons more or less unanimously (you can watch the debate here). The evils of letting agents fees to tenants seem to be one of the few things that MPs are agreed on so agents must face the fact that this bill will become law.
However, the details are still all to play for so agents are being urged to contact their MPs to help them understand the issues, particularly if their MP is on the committee which is to scrutinise the bill. Which is the next stage.
Find out more about the process here.
Regulation of letting agents
But it’s not just the tenant fee bill which agents are facing. The sector is facing full regulation including minimum entry standards and an independent body to carry out a regulatory function.
After years of denying that this is necessary, it looks like this is very much on the cards. A briefing paper has now been published and no doubt the government will be pressing on with action.
Again, the evils of unregulated letting agents appear to be one of the few things which unite the parties (and although many MPs are landlords, I don’t think any (or if any, many) of them are letting agents). So doing something about this perceived evil will, they hope, make them look good. At least they will have achieved something.
Legal aid and the courts
The Ministry of Justice has suffered bigger cuts than any other government department and it looks as if the system is starting to crack up. The Secret Barrister has written a book about it, which I don’t think I can face reading as I am sure it will be very depressing.
There is currently a case raging in the courts about legal aid procurement where the Law Centres Network are hoping to quash the Legal Aid Agency’s tender for new contracts under the housing possession court duty scheme, which will consolidate 113 schemes into 47 larger schemes.
However, Landmark Chambers’ Fiona Scolding QC, for the lord chancellor, told the High Court that the ‘comprehensive nature’ of the government’s court closure programme ‘has to impact the way the Legal Aid Agency makes its decisions’.
Scolding said a quarter of housing possession schemes have been affected by the ‘significant’ number of courts that have closed. Dozens of country courts closed about three months after the procurement process ended, the High Court heard.
Scolding said: ‘An additional court closure programme is going on at the moment, including the possible closure of Wandsworth County Court, during the course of this tender process. The Legal Aid Agency was required to halt two schemes because no one was sure where work from Lambeth is going. The result of the [Wandsworth] consultation is not clear. This is not a situation whereby it was possible for the Legal Aid Agency to say everything should stay as it has.’
I am sure they will be really pleased to hear that!
- It looks as if the PRS has lost 46,000 homes due to ‘landlord bashing tax clampdowns’
- A new case on unlawful eviction has been reported on the Nearly Legal site.
- If you are a letting agent in Scotland note that you must register by 1 October or you will be committing a criminal offence if you continue.
- It is being claimed that 1/4 of Bristol landlords are selling up due to problem tenants
- Find out six ways to spot ‘slum-like’ illegal HMOs