In July we let you know the Government are consulting to ending Section 21 ‘no-fault’ notices. These are the main tool landlords use when ending tenancies. We have now been through the consultation document in detail in preparation for submitting our response:
The core logic to the Government’s position is tenancies should only be ended by a landlord when the landlord wants to sell or move into the property, or when tenants are in breach the tenancy, e.g. not paying rent. We find it hard to argue with that logic, and in reality, landlords rarely end tenancies – landlords want long term stable tenancies!
At Maxine Lester Lettings & Property Management, we manage over 800 tenancies and, in the last 2 years, only 8% of our tenancies were ended by the landlord, usually because the landlord was selling or moving into the property themselves.
However, there were a few cases where the landlord felt there was a breach of the tenancy, and they had used the Section 21 Notice in order to end the tenancy. This simply requires that all the documentation required to set up and end the tenancy is correct, without any reason needed for the notice being supplied. If Section 21 notices did not exist then the Landlord would have to go to court where there would be a hearing to assess whether or not there had been a tenancy breach. This is time-consuming and expensive!
The consultation document recognises this problem. It proposes that many common tenancy breaches could be handled through the courts without a formal hearing, possibly similar to the online ‘small claims’ process. They also recognise that patterns of poor rent payment should be a tenancy breach. Whilst we need to see the detail of this, it seems a sensible improvement. That said, if Section 21 Notices are no longer available, there will be a higher burden of proof required before landlords can end a tenancy. Obviously this is not a problem for most Landlords, in particular, those with excellent lettings agents who have first-class records of all activity!
Even so, we fully expect any court action will be more costly and time-consuming than the Section 21 notices, therefore we are strongly recommending all landlords take out Legal Expenses and Rent Protection Insurance to cover the legal costs of any tenancy breaches.
The consultation closes at 11:45 pm on 12 October 2019. There is no timetable for action following that – but given the wider issues being faced by Parliament, the timetable is, at best, ‘uncertain’!! As Labour and the LibDems generally support such a move, even if there is a change of Government, we expect this change will happen. If you have any comments to add to the consultation then please let us know.
The formal consultation can be found HERE.
Below is the response from our lettings governing body PROPERTYMARK ARLA.
ARLA Chief Executive David Cox, said: “The Government’s plans could be devastating for the private rented sector and landlords operating within it. It is vitally important that landlords and letting agents get involved and highlight the implications. If you are opposed to the abolition of Section 21 as we are, and you want your voice heard then this is your opportunity to have your say.”
ARLA Propertymark has submitted a comprehensive 39-page document in response to the Government’s consultation on planned changes to the eviction process in England, you can read this by clicking on the image below.
Video Viewings of your Property
We have been developing video viewings of properties – we are certain this will be the way forward. People like a moving picture and people are becoming increasingly familiar with viewing a video on their phones and tablets. You can see a sample of one we have created for a rental property at West Street, St Ives, Cambs HERE. This video had 10,883 video views before the property was rented in a week
As we progress with our property videos we are getting a better idea of how long it takes, so we can work out what this may cost. If you think that a video viewing would help market your property, then please get in touch.
Can you help us help leading charity Caring Together?
Caring Together is a well-established, leading charity providing support for carers of all ages and those they care for across Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk. They do this by providing information and advice, running services in our local communities and campaigning, so that carers have choices. The number of carers is set to increase dramatically over the coming years. Caring Together want to be the leading provider of support to them.
Caring Together is recruiting new trustees. It isn’t necessary to have any previous trustee or board experience, nor have a background in health and social care. This could be an ideal opportunity if you are looking for your first board position but equally, those with experience are encouraged to apply. They are looking for specific skills in fundraising and/or marketing and digital change to complement their existing board of trustees. This is an exciting time to get involved following the launch of a new strategy, new name and new brand.
For details click HERE
Applications close 7 October 2019
Is your home ready for winter?
We find people really value this helpful update to check whether they have prepared their home for winter – even when we have had such lovely weather. Regardless of whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, it is good to know your heating works when you need it – our simple checklist helps you do this! The fact is heating contractors get suddenly very busy when the weather turns cold! It is not nice waiting a couple of days for a plumber when you have no heat. Even though our regular contractors very responsive and prioritise our customers (if we get a call before 1pm we get someone out to that home the same day) – it can still take a couple of days to get things running. Good people are in demand, so find out if you need them before they are stretched by following our helpful checklist!