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Labour MP promotes Generation Rent campaign, demands reform timeline

A Labour MP has written to the Housing Secretary demanding a timetable for the implementation of rental reform.

Catherine West, MP for Hornsby and Wood Green in London, has written to Simon Clarke, who is Liz Truss’ pick for Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and the Communities.

She writes: “This year I have received more emails from private renters in my constituency about the instability of their housing situation than ever before. I know that many MPs across the country are witnessing similar problems.”

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The letter, which was published on Twiter, appears to have been written to publicise an awareness week organised by campaign group Generation Rent, which West mentions in the letter.

It cites an unnamed landlord who - West says she “is told” - has issued “a whopping 62 per cent rent increase” and has told their tenants this must be paid or they risk eviction.

The MP then makes a reference to the government’s reported U-turn on the abolition of Section 21 eviction powers, and then Liz Truss’ further U-turn when she confirmed the abolition would go ahead.

She concludes by saying: “I’m sure you will agree with me that in the current economic climate and cost of living crisis, renters desperately need the security that the long awaited Renters’ Reform Bill promised to provide, and I urge you to publish a timeline for when this will become law as soon as possible.

“As part of this, please could you confirm when your department will provide detail on how these reforms will be funded and enforced.”

The government has already committed to introduce the Renters Reform Bill into Parliament during this session - despite the disarray over many other policies across the Truss administration.At a Parliamentary session taking questions to the Housing Secretary earlier this week there were several questions from backbench MPs pressing for a date for the introduction of the Bill.

Clarke resisted giving a date but said he was being clear that it would be introduced this session; he also repeated the commitment given by the Prime Minister last week that Section 21 eviction powers would be outlawed.

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    A 62% rent increase sounds like a lot but in reality depends on what the original rent was and when the last increase was.
    The tenant always has the option of applying to a rent Tribunal for a determination.

    A great many tenants don't have regular rent increases so when eventually one does happen it is likely to be more than the current annual inflation rate.

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    The fear of a rent freeze is causing some LLs to put rents up while they can. Its becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.

     
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    Most landlords I know have started increasing rents purely because they know rent freezes may be on the way.

     
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    And that’s why we HAVE to keep rent at near market because of the constant interference in our business.
    I don’t see this outcry against joiners electricians roofers builders whose rates have easily doubled last 18 months and they blame materials. I also don’t moan about it I either pay it or I do the job myself. What other choice is there for us?

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    Well when the bill does come in, the Mp’s will be getting far more letters 💀💀. They will be getting evicted as the landlord sells up.

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    • G W
    • 19 October 2022 08:37 AM

    But will you really sell up????…. I’m asking as prices are coming down and savings interest rates low?… serious question because I know where you are coming from and considering similar

     
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    G W. Everyone is different. Some can sell as they have had it for years and would have sold in 15-20 years if hassle free, 5-10 if a lot off hassle, or be pushed to sell now as the conditions become unworkable, unbearable, to stressful etc. Some people are near retirement or whatever. It's personal circumstances.

    I am selling one to get rid of a terrible expensive tenant who pays low rent. For peace of mind I don't care.

     
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    Nick I'm 70 next year and still enjoy being a landlord, I would have liked to keep my properties till death and pass them on to family, but things are changing rapidly now, and the prospect of a landlord hating loony left government in 2 years means that unlikely to happen now.

     
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    GW. I will really sell up. My properties are in Wales. No S21 from December and 6 month notice only with an acceptable reason and now discussing rent freezes and . 2 sold one on the market next month, then 2 more to go. I don't beleive in state appropriation of my personal property. It is mine to do with as I wish.

     
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    You can give six months notice without giving any reason at all in Wales under Section 173.

    The legislation says:

    173Landlord's notice
    (1)The landlord under a periodic standard contract may end the contract by giving the contract-holder notice that he or she must give up possession of the dwelling on a date specified in the notice.
    (2)This section is a fundamental provision which is incorporated as a term of all periodic standard contracts

     
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    This is what it says on Nation Cymru (14th October 2022):

    "Welsh Tories have hit out at new legislation which provides six months’ notice for no-fault evictions, saying overregulation is “driving landlords out of the private sector”.

    Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 comes into force on December 1, 2022 and will apply to councils, housing associations, supported housing and private accommodation and has major implications, including giving greater security to tenants and placing new responsibilities on landlords.

    People with rolling tenancies will need to be given six months’ notice for no-fault evictions rather than the current period of two months under last-minute changes to the Act."

     
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    It's simply a case of getting low rents up to market rents while we still can, an example, I have a couple mid 70s, and the lady has the big C, in a 3 bed house paying £565 a month, the same properties on the same road renting for £900 a month, what sort of percentage increase would that be ? I really should be increasing their rent, I cannot find it in myself to do so though.

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    • G W
    • 19 October 2022 08:42 AM

    Wow that’s a tough one…. I’ve a set of tenants who’ve been in place 13yrs and they’re £250pcm below market rent….. I’ve already said I won’t increase due to cost of living but with inflation I may have to think again… sad times

     
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    By not charging the correct rent all we are really doing is subsidising their lifestyle with ours

    Re Andrew very difficult position to be in. I’ve got similar issue with tenants

     
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    It is very difficult if you have nice tenants. All my mortgages are going up over the next year so I am planning to advise them in March that there will be 10% increase in September. Fair warning so they can decide whether to stay or not, but they won't be able to find anything similar for anywhere near what they are paying. I could tell them now, but don't want to stress them out, and hoping by March they will be feeling less stressed.

     
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    The human side of it is a big factor for hands on landlords.

    The faceless corporation would see your tenant as under paying for a house that is far too big for their needs. If they can afford market rent all well and good, if they can't afford it find somewhere smaller. No regard to what that may do to the tenants health.

    Even Social Housing has annual rent increases and no one seems to bat an eyelid at that.

    A humane landlord would want them to have the comfort of their long term home for what may be their final few months together. It's something we do. We try and second guess a situation and often err on the side of generosity. In the situation you have I'd be thinking:
    What's their housing entitlement, what's the LHA, how much is comparable Social Housing, have they got private pensions, are they fully self financing or do they get top ups (would additional Discretionary Housing payments be a possibility), how much are State pensions going up, what other financial help are they receiving, are they good tenants, do they do minor repairs themselves or call you for the slightest issue, is there likely to be a time in the foreseeable future where a rent increase may feel better, what's the likelihood of the government imposing a rent freeze.
    Would doing a modest increase now and explaining that legally you can't increase it again for at least 12 months give them peace of mind? I was surprised at the very positive response I had from some of my tenants when I did modest increases a few weeks ago. Some of them had been extremely worried by the scaremongering in the media.

     
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    According to Shelter, Acorn, Generation Rant etc. NO Landlords think like this but in reality most of us do when faced with human problems.

    Hats off to all of you in this post. The SNP forced me to take the coward's way out and I now avoid families and couples wanting long term homes, and focus purely on students with solvent guarantors so I don't need to consider the human element any more. Of course this does nothing to help the shortage of rental properties for families but I didn't make or support the SNP legislation which is the real culprit.

     
  • Elizabeth Campion

    Balancing a good tenant who pays against future bad one that doesn't. Negotiate informally to keep good tenant.
    We all have to share the pain under current climate.
    New contracts fair game

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    Yes I agree Elizabeth and these tenants are good and have done some improvements themselves, so at present their rent remains low

     
  • michael davies

    I dont put my rents up very often,usually when a new tennant is installed, but when i do want to increase the rent of a long standing tennant i just ask them to think what would be a fair increase based on other local rents,the last time i did this the tennant came back with twice the figure i had in mind,ha!

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    They moronic government in Eire have frozen rents until March & June’23. Their Policy’s have driven out Landlords and queuing up to get out so this is a blocker to stop them getting possession. The Government was also afraid of loosing their soft jobs so the parties colluded together to take turns at being Taoiseach and Tanaiste rotating what a disgusting way to run a country and all on £200k pa for sure with expenses, then Taoiseach gets £130k pension but now seem to be hiding the figures from public, so a great idea for them to freeze rent it won’t affect them, it’s such a good idea UK will probably copy it.

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    The SNP loves the Republic of Ireland.

    Rebels together - forget about what's best for the country!

     
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    It includes eviction ban.

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