Another Friday, another Newsround. What do we have for you today?
New Proposals from the NRLA
An interesting document has been produced by the NRLA setting out their suggestions for the Renters Reform Bill. Which can be downloaded here (at the time of writing).
It called for a new mediation / conciliation service similar to ACAS to help resolve landlord and tenant disputes and proposes improvements to the grounds for possession in schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988.
For example, a mandatory ground where the landlord wants to sell the property and also for
- subletting without the written permission of the landlord
- refusing access for a gas safety inspection or electrical installation inspection three times
- refusing access for an Energy Performance Certificate assessment three times
- breaching the terms of a superior lease or licensing conditions where the tenant is aware of the terms of the superior lease or conditions
- has registered a limited company at the property’s address without the landlord’s express written permission
- running a business from the property which would result in a change of planning use class without the landlord’s express permission.
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, commented:
As the government prepares this important Bill, it needs to enjoy the full confidence of both landlords and tenants.
Our proposals are for a fundamental reform of re-possession rights which strike the balance between the needs of both. The over-riding aim is to sustain tenancies wherever possible or bring them to an end in a collaborative way.
We hope that ministers will accept our proposals and act on them soon.
A COVID opportunity to turn tourist flats into homes?
An interesting article in the Guardian looks at how cities overseas as using the dearth of tourists due to the COVID pandemic as an opportunity to reclaim properties for private housing.
For example in Lisbon’s Alfama neighbourhood:
The city seized on the moment to cast new light on a programme that was in the works prior to the pandemic: an ambitious plan to convert some of the city’s more than 20,000 tourist flats into affordable housing.
The initiative, billed by the city as a “risk-free” option, offers landlords the possibility of receiving up to €1,000 a month by renting their properties to the city for a minimum of five years. From there the city takes over, finding tenants and renting the homes at a subsidised rate capped at a third of the household’s net income.
For landlords, the rental income is likely to be lower than what they might earn from tourists down the road. But the city is betting that the long-term, stable income – and the offer to pay an advance of as much as three years’ rent – will win over landlords as they grapple with the uncertainty generated by the pandemic.
Other countries have their own initiatives:
- In England, hotels were used to house the homeless in Lockdown and there are plans to provide 3,300 homes for homeless after coronavirus
- Venice has struck an agreement that will see some tourist flats rented to university students
- In June, two hotels in Vancouver, with 173 rooms between them, were purchased to house some of the city’s most vulnerable.
- In Barcelona, officials are cracking down on empty homes
However, Lisbon is hoping that their scheme will be a mould-breaker. The city’s programme comes with a caveat for landlords in the historical centre that once their contract with the city is up, they will not be able to return the property to the short-term rental market.
Inventory Clerks can help with Right to Rent problem
I wrote in Newsround #172 about the impending problems with right to rent checks.
This is that the temporary change in the rules brought in after COVID struck, allowing landlords and agents to complete status checks without having to meet tenants in person is due to end at some stage. But the regulations say that once Covid is over, these tenancies will have to be re-checked for Right to Rent within eight weeks of the pandemic ending. Which will be very difficult to do.
Inventory services provider, No Letting Go says Inventory CLerks will be able to help with this. Nick Lyons, Founder and CEO, said:
Our clerks have experience of carrying out Right to Rent checks as many of them conducted them on behalf of agents and landlords when compiling inventory check-ins during the spring lockdown.
Which could be done during ‘property visits’ which I assume means property inspection visits carried out on behalf of the landlord or agent. Find out more here.
- Petition calling for evictions after two weeks’ rent arrears hits 10,000 signatures
- The rise of the let-to-let market
- Fire Safety Bill risks fuelling the cladding crisis
- Updated Covid-19 guidance for landlords and tenants (England)
Newsround will be back next week.