Weekly landlord news digest: Issue 42

Our weekly news round-up, brought to you by Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance, features the latest news and updates in the private rented sector.

This week, we cover the Residential Landlord Association’s (RLA) response to recent discussions over rent controls and the recent amendments to the Housing and Planning Act 2016 which will require mandatory electrical safety checks to be carried out in properties.

In other news, a Redbridge landlord is fined over £25,000 for letting out multiple unsafe HMO properties and a new law which can result in property owners being banned from operating as landlords has been backed by a property solicitation firm.

Finally, we highlight the most recent episode of BBC Inside Out, in which Paul Shamplina and the Landlord Action team help an agency to repossess a home from troublesome tenants.

 

RLA suggest that stricter rent control policies could be problematic

We recently reported that members of the Labour party were proposing for the government to enforce stricter rent control policies for tenancies. The RLA has now warned that introducing rent controls could be detrimental to the private rented sector by reducing investment into the sector, and in some cases could actually increase rents.

The Labour party has pledged that it plans to introduce rent controls with the intention of making the private rented sector (PRS) fairer. However, an analysis of the RLA’s research on the impact of rent controls has identified some potential issues.

Some of these included:

  • Upsetting the balance between demand and supply of housing in the PRS
  • Regulatory failings as a result of undermining the complexities involved with enforcing such a scheme
  • May create unfair advantages for certain parties
  • Could have wider economic consequences

 

“This research shows clearly that rent controls are not a panacea for tenants. Far from making renting cheaper, experience around the world shows it can make it more expensive and more difficult for those looking for a home to rent.”

– The RLA

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New electrical safety standards for England

As reported by LandlordZONE, the Commencement Order in sections 122 and 123 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 came into force on 25 October 2019, which means that mandatory electrical safety checks will soon be implemented in the PRS.

Section 122 of The Housing and Planning Act 2016 enables the Secretary of State to impose obligations on private landlords to ensure that electrical safety standards are met.

Other specifics, such as the frequency of checks and penalties for breaches, are expected to be specified in the New Year.

A number of groups and representatives within the private rented sector, including ARLA Propertymark, have provided recommendations to the government on the planned requirements of electrical safety standards.

Read the article on LandlordZONE for the full list of ARLA Propertymark recommendations.

The pending regulations are suspected to follow closely to these recommendations, so it is advisable for landlords in the PRS to consider implementing these suggestions sooner rather than later.

Redbridge landlord fined £25,000 for letting out unsafe properties

A rogue landlord has received a penalty fine of over £25,000 for letting out multiple unsafe properties, putting the lives of 56 people at risk.

Mindaugas Cikanavicius was found to be operating five HMO properties in Redbridge without a licence. The 37 year old man’s properties reportedly had no fire safety measures in place to protect the tenants, including smoke alarms and fire blankets.

During the sentencing at Barkingsdale Magistrates Court, the judge said: “had there been a fire, there would have been some deaths on his hands.”

Cikanavicius plead guilty to operating unlicensed, unsafe and overcrowded HMOs. As a result, he was fined £14,800 and ordered to pay costs of £10,105, and a victim surcharge of £260.

“It is completely unacceptable that people should be living in conditions that put their lives at risk. We take a zero-tolerance approach to landlords of this type and will continue to crack down on all suspected HMOs and unlicensed properties to root out rogue operators in the borough.”

– Redbridge Councillor Farah Hussain