More news for you on a Friday.
Limits on enforcement
First, I need to tell you about a post on Nearly Legal where he reproduces a letter which has been sent to High Court Enforcement Officers by the Lord Chancellor asking them not to enforce possession orders:
a) where Tier 2 or Tier 3 restrictions are in place, and
b) during the 11 December 2020 to 11 January 2021 period (with exceptions to be notified)
Similar letters have been sent to the bailiffs.
As Nearly Legal then points out, this will leave great swathes of the country where evictions will not happen as it does not look as if tier 2 or tier 3 restrictions will be lifted any time soon.
Is this legal? Or can it be challenged? And what about Wales?
Possession notices in Wales
Turning to Wales, Welsh landlords confused about the possession notice requirements can now consult the Nearly Legal post here which sets out the current rules.
Which are on the whole similar to the English rules.
It looks like the Welsh forms have still not been updated.
Escape to the Country
This seems to be what many people are doing leading many to wonder if this is a going to be a permanent change. London properties, once so expensive, are now suffering a ‘massive strike‘ in rent reductions.
People are just not interested in small London flats anymore. Now they can work from home, people are looking for larger properties with gardens in small towns and villages.
I can’t say I blame them – can you?
SpareRoom director Matt Hutchinson is quoted as saying
Once again, London dominates the headlines in terms of falling rents, and it’s generally the most expensive neighbourhoods that are worst affected. With so many young renters leaving the capital, either to find cheaper rents, to move with family, or to leave the UK altogether, it’s hard to know when – or even if – London will regain the appeal it had before the pandemic.
What we’re seeing might just be a temporary shift in the rental market, or it may be the start of the UK’s rental map being redrawn permanently.
Beyond Section 21
Looking to the future and the government’s plans to abolish section 21 (as demanded by tenants groups) a new report, commissioned by The Lettings Industry Council’s (TLIC ) called ‘Beyond Section 21‘ predicts serious problems if this is not done carefully.
The group authoring the report (whose members includes ARLA, TDS, Hamilton Fraser Insurance and the National Residential Landlords Association) predict a large drop in the availability of properties due to the intense screening which will take place by landlords anxious to prevent access to problematic tenants who they will then be unable to evict.
This will also lead to an increase in rent (due to the increased scarcity of supply) as the changes will discourage new landlord investment.
Changes will also (the report states) seriously affect the courts who will be unable to deal with the massive increase in eviction claims and they suggest that major improvements to the system, will be necessary.
Their main four recommendations are:
- Reviewing and reforming section 8
- Implementing a (voluntary) first stage mediation process
- Court reform – including the establishment of a specialist housing court, and
- Bailiff reform
The report suggests that the timing of the four measures be in three stages:
- Bailiff process
- Court reform and mediation process, and finally
- Abolition of section 21 and reform of section 8
Theresa Wallace, chair of TLIC, commented:
The PRS has doubled in size over the last 20 years, which means any changes to the current regulations will have a huge impact on the life of millions of citizens. It is vital to strike a balance between the needs of tenants for long-term security and legal certainty, restoring landlord confidence to ensure an adequate supply of private rented homes.
The social cost of abolishing Section 21 lies in the economic effects it will release and how the market will react to it. That is why the government must not proceed with its proposal to do so without careful consideration of the impacts and implementation of measures to mitigate such negative consequences.
- NRLA calls for Welsh Housing Survey
- Co-living in London – young renters boost demand for new concept
- £130,000 bill for landlords letting “criminally improper” flats
- Homeowners with Grenfell-style cladding forced to accept ‘low offers for their homes’
- Welsh Lockdown rules published – list of landlords’ Covid-safe responsibilities
- Landlord told to repay £28,000 rent after tribunal backs tenants
- Online agents are more attractive to money laundering criminals, warns HMRC
- Universal Credit payments direct to landlords ‘must be made easier’ MPs tell Ministers
Newsround will be back next week.