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MPs demand stronger anti-eviction policies and holiday lets clampdown

The government’s proposed tenancy reforms - including the banning of section 21 evictions - could be undermined by delays in the court system, says the cross-party Levelling Up, Housing and Communities committee of MPs in a report published today.

The Reforming The Private Rented Sector report expresses concerns that the government’s White Paper - delivered back in June last year - may have a negative impact on the student private rental sector market and highlights what it sees as the threat to the sector of the rise in holiday-lets.

The report warns that the government’s proposed ‘sales and occupations’ grounds for eviction, outlined in the White Paper, could be “too easily exploited by bad landlords and become a backdoor to no-fault evictions”. 

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The committee recommends a series of changes to the sales and occupation grounds to help combat what it calls “unfair eviction and insecurity of tenure.”

The report welcomes the government’s plans to introduce a legally binding decent homes standard but points to a series of obstacles threatening the ability of local councils to enforce the standard, including precarious local government finances, shortage of qualified enforcement staff, and a lack of reliable data.

The report recommends the government introduce a tougher civil penalties regime in the proposed renters reform bill to ensure councils have the capability to collect financial penalties on landlords who breach standards.

Clive Betts, chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities committee, says: “By its own admission, the government’s White Paper did not address the underlying cause of the affordability crisis in the private rented sector, namely the decades-long failure of successive governments to build enough homes.  

“Only a significant increase in housing, particularly affordable housing, will ultimately tackle the rocketing costs of renting for many tenants. We call on the government to recommit delivering the affordable homes the country needs, particularly the 90,000 social rent homes needed every year.

“The government should remedy the blight of unfair evictions and insecurity of tenure experienced by too many tenants today. From our inquiry, it’s not clear the government fully appreciates that a creaking and unreformed courts system in England risks undermining their own tenancy reforms, including the welcome commitment to ban ‘no fault’ evictions. 

“For landlords and tenants, it’s vital the government now finds a practical way forward to enable courts to fast-track claims.”

While welcoming the government’s proposed abolition of fixed-term tenancies, the report warns against applying this to the general student private rented sector market. 

The report finds abolishing fixed-term contracts risks making letting to students considerably less attractive to private landlords and could ultimately push up rents or reduce the availability of student rental properties, at a time when the market in many university towns and cities is already very tight. And the report calls for the government to retain fixed-term tenancies in the entire student housing sector but require all landlords letting to students to sign up to one of the existing government-approved codes of conduct.

The committee’s report concludes that the proposed sales and occupation grounds could be exploited by bad landlords and recommend the government increases from six months to one year the period at the start of a tenancy during which the landlord may not use either grounds, and increases from three months to six months the period following the use of either ground during which the landlord may not market or relet the property.

The report notes the recent trend associated with the apparent decline of the PRS, the rise of the short and holiday-let market, particularly in tourist hotspots such as Cornwall and Scarborough. 

It recommends the government use the powers in the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill to implement a tourist accommodation registration scheme and report back on whether the scheme could be used to allow local authorities to protect their communities from the holiday-let market.

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    Blimey. I didn’t think it could have gotten any worse.

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    you skew the market with S24
    and then moan when the market responds


    free market for the corporates only

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    It’s more unfairness its what they mean by a fairer Renting System.
    Its making a mockery out of the justice system.
    Who can have confidence in the law, its so blatantly obvious that its one sided.
    They are determined to drive us out for big boys to take over.
    They deliberately causing the shortage with the continuous unjustified sustained attack in recent years one thing after an other.
    Whatever happened to the scales of justice they have a feather on one side and a brick on other.
    This is tantamount to confiscation and all rights removed.

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    The next best thing from the state owning everything is the state controlling everything. It all went so well in the 70s with Leyland being destroyed and then the mining industry . Starts with strikes and then collapse and everything ends up foreign owned. Our politicians are a disgrace and I for one will never vote Tory or Labour again. Both different poisons with the same outcome.

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    Well said and I completely agree, our Politicians (most of them) are simply not fit for purpose.
    The UK is in decline from incompetence from this self interested, over confident, ignorant and ill-informed cretins.
    It's a one way swinging door for most Landlords now.

     
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    Well who knew that government could always make a bad situation worse 🤔. The more they tighten of course, the quicker we sell, they never seem to learn.

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    • A G
    • 09 February 2023 06:40 AM

    Could the government also remedy the blight of tenants who don’t look after their rented homes, who cause damage and then expect every tiny little cost to be footed by the landlord? This would also help with the section 21 for those “blameless” tenants who are a thorn in the side of a hapless landlord unable to do anything but pay, pay, pay for tenant neglect, disregard and carelessness.

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    We are simply not being represented in the right way by Landlord agencies. The view is that we are greedy self interested individuals and as such an easy target for the sheep in Parliament.

     
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    Ever more bigger fines its the easy money for their Bank Balance.
    I wonder if they still do the 3 way split of the spoils between them like the landlords case in Southend before, Government 50%, Council 37.5%, Courts 12.5% nice one, would someone have a vested interest ?.

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    English landlords seem to be concerned about how outlawing fixed term tenancies will destroy the student market.

    My experience in Scotland has been that students are about the only group to benefit from the SNP's disastrous PRS legislation.

    Students don't want to stay long term and so rent can keep pace with market rates thus removing the two main harms done by the recent rent cap and banning landlords from deciding when to end tenancies.

    However even students are finding that many many groups are chasing every flat and market rents are 50% to 70% up on 2017 rates for the best properties. Families have virtually no chance of finding new rental properties because there are far fewer available and problem tenants are staying put until desperate landlords sell up, which is virtually their only escape route.

    Whÿ don't UK politicians realise that the SNP have got this just as wrong as all their other crazy policies!

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    It is disheartening for politicians to clamour for the tenants and brand the providers of the shelters as enemies.
    Ever inclined to spare a thought for how some tenants treat and vandalise the same "Decent Homes" given to them.

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    It takes currently takes 13 months to get a court hearing for rent arrears in London from the day you submit your court application on-line, so the government have completely broken our court system and there is absolutely no way they will ever catch up, in my humble opinion.

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    And what hope do we have of court reform considering getting rid of S21. How many years will we have to wait to get our properties back? If ever...

     
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    They need to put a stop on the right to buy ‘social housing’. That should remain in the public sector for families on low income. Too many are sold and then the rent is doubled. The social housing sector needs protecting and let the private sector do its own thing with workable regulation and a ‘charter of responsible landlords’. You can't blame landlords for the shortage of homes.
    Over 1 million households are waiting for social homes. Last year, 29,000 social homes were sold or demolished, and less than 7,000 were built.

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    It’s like filling up a bath with a thimble whilst the plug is out !

     
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    How does anyone know over 1 million households are waiting for Social Housing? How often are the lists updated? How often are people's circumstances checked? How many people on the list have died, moved in with a partner, moved to a different part of the country, emigrated, etc?

     
  • Peter Meczes

    Having read all the comments I feel depressed at the despondency expressed. Surely there’s at least one mp who understands the PRS and could argue our case? Maybe we could possibly get the NRLA to organize a questionnaire and another petition on our behalf. As a LL well past retirement age I too have sold 1 of my BLT’s. I managed to remortgage 4 on a 5 year fixed deal but the first 2 of those only have 2 years left before going to the SVR. If the rates don’t come back down at that time I would have to sell. I have 2 student houses and have noticed the trend changing towards overseas students arriving and looking for accommodation to start at different times of the year from those normally sought after like August and September. They also have very low budgets and often very low hygiene standards. I have also experienced abject liars who claim that they are non-smokers and that the cigarette burns on the furniture are nothing to do with them, as well as broken beds and chairs. But all that aside, I like having a semi-passive income so long as it stays in the black.

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    Even if the NRLA represented LL as we would wish, their membership is a tiny proportion of LLs. We don't really help ourselves as we don't have any collective representation.

     
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    Student tenants like that, red mist, I would have them out by fair means or foul , I haven't rented to students since the 90s can't stand the entitled little upstarts, and generally their parents are worse still

     
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    Andrew

    I have found your experiences apply in the cheaper student rentals but in my higher priced properties most students work pretty hard in part time jobs to pay the rent as they get no top ups from the taxpayer.

    Solvent parents also always pay up to avoid getting their credit ratings trashed.

    I don't need to like them to like their money but in fairness most of the students tend to be decent if a bit feckless and immature. Parents can be a bit sniffy especially if I have my painting gear on.

     
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    Robert I speak as I find, as clearly you do as well, it's plain to see you have a very good business that's working very well, how ever I'll stick with the working guy who's on my level, not the tosses with their inflated egos and heads in the clouds, I'm proud to be working class, I would never pretend to be otherwise nor would I want to be

     
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    Andrew

    We working class millionaires will have the red braces brigade running to their wine bars for some Dutch courage, terrified of us making our own investment decisions instead of giving them fat commission for their "expertise".

    Personally I prefer the company found in some of Glasgow's most "basic" pubs than in wine bars and golf clubs etc.

    Incidentally some of my student tenants work part time in some of the establishments I have been known to frequent, which gives them a good grounding of life in the real world.

     
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    Red braces expert advice Robert, throughout life when I've listened to expert advice is generally where things have gone wrong, I trust my gut feeling, that's where my best decisions have come from, my solicitor (good chap now retired) often said to me when I walked into his office with a new contract hot from an auction, ''why don't you ask me first before going to auction'' ? because John you would try and talk me out of it, this way you can't it's too late .

     
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    My lawyer used to say to me "Please tell me you've got your BTL mortgage arranged" when I was asking him to make offers for properties no one else would touch at less than the asking price ( unusual in Scotland).

    I would reply that I wouldn't be wasting money on offers for properties I couldn't complete on. He sighed and said he understood and put the offer in. I never needed to pull out for lack of funds so he stopped asking.

     
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    • G W
    • 09 February 2023 18:35 PM

    Nothing will change in landlords favour until tenants suffer and politicians panic….. my tenancies are periodics and won’t agree to fixed terms….. I’m increasing rents to maximum before the impending rent caps that will surely follow…… sad times, but government in turmoil….. my greatest fear is labour saying if landlords sell they must compensate tenants which really wouldn’t surprise me as a way of tying us in to adhere to their rules

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