Another week, another Newsround. What do we have for you this week?
Section 8 Notice Periods have changed in England
1st August has seen another change to the notice periods regarding rent arrear with a section 8 notice.
From the start of June 2021, in situations where there is less than 4 months’ rent outstanding and grounds 8, 10 or 11 of a section 8 notice are to be relied upon solely, 4 months’ notice must be given to a tenant.
Ground 8,10 and 11 all relate to rent arrears. From 1 August 2021, this has now been reduced down to two months’ notice. This is set to be decreased on the 1 October 2021, however, this is yet to be confirmed.
Where there are rent arrears of 4 months or more, the notice period remains 4 weeks.
Nearly Half of all Landlords cut their rent during the pandemic
An article has recently announced that around 46% of landlords accepted reduced monthly payments from their tenants during the pandemic. In addition to this, 28% of landlords forfeited full rental payment for up to three months from their tenants.
John Eastgate, managing director of property finance at Shawbrook bank said:
During this incredibly difficult period, landlords acted pragmatically, recognising the additional strain their tenants were under. In fact, in many cases landlords were initiating the conversation around cutting rents to ease their financial burden
Articles like this are commonplace within the property sector in the past few months, with many companies and businesses applauding the selflessness of many landlords who have cut their rent for their tenants during this time of crisis and uncertainty.
However, it is unfair that landlords should shoulder the burden unaided. Many landlords have only survived by using up their savings. There should be a grants or loan scheme in England as there is in Wales.
Camden first council to secure an anti-behaviour injunction against landlord
Camden council has become the first council to protect private sector tenants by securing an anti-social behaviour injunction against a landlord.
The landlord, who had made repeated attempts to harass and illegally evict tenants in numerous different properties, has had an injunction order made against him. Amongst other restrictions, he cannot enter an exclusion zone surrounding his properties.
Councillor Meric Apak, the cabinet member for Better Homes, said:
Most landlords are decent law-abiding people however, for too long a minority have been able to let housing that is unsuitable while exploiting their tenants and woefully disregarding their wellbeing and safety.
London is on the frontline of dealing with rogue landlords: it is the first location within England and Wales to have a rogue landlord database that any prospective tenant can use to make sure they are not signing an agreement with a dodgy landlord.
While this is the first anti-social behaviour injunction served, it will be interesting to see how this enforcement tool against landlords will be used in the future; perhaps injunctions will be more common as a way to thwart rogue landlords.
Right to Rent changes highlight the need for greater automation
Openview, a property company, has argued for greater automation for the right to rent procedure, making it easier and quicker for landlords to check prospective tenants status.
Recently, ‘right to rent’ has gone through various changes due to the pandemic. Firstly introducing video calls during the pandemic (which, as reported in Newsround 200, will continue until the end of August 2021) as well as the EU, EEA and Swiss settlement scheme now starting.
While all EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who have signed up to the settlement scheme are now in an online database that landlords will be able to access, tenants who are from the UK or other countries will still have to give their passports or national identification to landlords. This process, while simple, can result in tenants being without their passport for several days: in other words, if the process can be automated, it will make it a lot easier for all parties involved.
With the right to rent going now entering the age of automation, the Chief Executive of Openview Peter Grant said: “
The temporary video and online measure has been a success in the property industry. We suggest other areas of agency are automated to make business far simpler. If the mere introduction of video and scanned documents was this much of a success with Right to Rent checks, just think of all the different ways automation can improve the other areas of an agency business.
Over half of Local Authorities in England have not issued civil penalties against rogue landlords in the past three years
The NRLA has identified that between 2018-2021, only 130 out of 275 respondent local authorities had issued any civil penalties against a landlord.
In addition, most of these local authorities have only used civil penalties a handful of times, whilst others had used them as an enforcement tool fairly regularly. 71% of all civil penalties issued by local authorities came from 7% of the local authorities.
Chris Norris, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the NRLA said this about the report:
Our findings show that most councils are failing to use all the tools available to them to tackle rogue and criminal landlords. By failing to apply appropriate sanctions to punish wrongdoing, councils are weakening the principle of deterrence which underpins the civil penalties regime.
This report shows the nature of the ‘postcode lottery’ that exists. While some areas do not administer any penalties, others seem to use this process freely. This controversy has been highlighted in the past couple of months and it will be interesting to see with the reforms that the English private rented sector will go through in the next few years whether local authorities enforcement will see any changes to bring about a more universal application of civil penalties.
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- The cities where landlords are most likely to make a LOSS…
- Landlord in court for failing to produce gas safety certificate
- Welsh government to invest in low carbon homes
Newsround will be back next week.