Evictions firm Landlord Action has questioned whether the government has enough resources in place to enforce new Section 21 measures introduced yesterday.
A raft of changes have been put forward as part of the Deregulation Act, including changes to how long a Section 21 notice will be valid for and a new draft eviction notice.
Landlords will also be unable to end a tenancy using a Section 21 notice if they fail to address a repairs complaint made by a tenant which is then referred to a local authority.
Under the new rules, at the start of a new tenancy a landlord must provide tenants with a valid Energy Performance Certificate, an annual Gas Safety Certificate and a copy of the government's How To Rent guide in order to legally serve a Section 21 eviction notice in the future.
As well as questioning the government's ability and resources to police the new system, Landlord Action has raised concerns that not enough has been done to inform landlords about the changes.
The firm's founder, Paul Shamplina, says he recognises that the changes have been implemented in response to the ever growing private rented sector and a need for best practice.
He does, however, raise a number of concerns about the new system.
“I would like to have seen the Government proportion a greater budget to educating landlords, particularly those that don’t use agents to manage their properties, to ensure they are up to speed with new legislation,” he says.
Commenting on the repairs aspect of the changes, Shamplina says: “Good landlords will deal with complaints within the given 14 days, but my concern is the level of resource the local authorities have in place to action environmental health officers to carry out inspections when staffing levels have been cut to the bone.”
“Landlords’ circumstances can change and if they need to end their tenancy, but can’t because they are waiting for an inspection or to gain access from the tenant, landlords are going to lose valuable time.”
He says the new rules could lead to a 'huge spike' in complaints from tenants.
“I am fed up of all the frequent landlord bashing. It is about time there were more positive statements for landlords in the Private Rented Sector,” he adds.
Buy-to-let finance firm Commercial Trust has also spoken out about the changes to the Section 21 eviction process.
It says that the new legislation runs the risk of making property letting a 'legal minefield'.
The firm suggests that while the new regulations have the right intentions, they will also make it much more difficult for landlords to 'rightfully evict' tenants.
“While it is important to protect tenants from rogue landlords, these new laws were implemented with very little publicity or forewarning and will render section 21 notices unenforceable in a number of cases, leaving landlords unable to reclaim their own properties,” says Andrew Turner, director of Commercial Trust.
“Landlords already face a great deal of uncertainty; from tax changes, the threat of mortgage regulation (both at home and from abroad) and a flurry of policymaking. This poses the very real risk of making property letting a legal minefield for those unaware of these changes, and thus undermine an important part of the economy that fulfils a significant social need,” says Turner.
He urges policymakers to do everything in their power to ensure that all information on the changes is made as clear and widely available as possible.