Weekly landlord news digest: Issue 14

The private rented sector is evolving with plenty of legislative changes on the horizon that landlords just can’t afford to miss.

This week’s landlord news digest explores the ‘no-fault’ eviction ban, additional landlord reforms set to change the rental landscape and the drop in numbers of properties up for auction.

No-fault eviction ban on the way for landlords

The government have announced plans to stop landlords from forcing tenants to leave their rented homes under no-fault evictions.

Currently under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, private landlords can evict tenants from rented homes without giving a reason.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire plans to create new, open-ended tenancies, while improving landlord rights over their properties.

“We are making the biggest change to the private rental sector in a generation. We are creating homes, opportunities and thriving communities, where people can come together and put down roots, bound by a strong sense of belonging.

“Everyone has a right to the opportunities they need to build a better life. For many, this means having the security and stability to make a place truly feel like home without the fear of being evicted at a moments’ notice. We are building a fairer housing market that truly works for everyone.”

“By abolishing these kinds of evictions, every single person living in the private rented sector will be empowered to make the right housing choice for themselves – not have it made for them. And this will be balanced by ensuring responsible landlords can get their property back where they have proper reason to do so,”

– James Brokenshire, Communities Secretary

The new law will give landlords a list of statutory reasons for eviction, such as removing tenants in rent arrears or who mistreat their homes. The minister confirmed a consultation to fine tune the law will follow soon.

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Government reforms for the private rented sector continue

In addition to section 21 reforms the government have also set out their commitment to improve the sector after publishing its full response to their consultation “Overcoming the barriers to longer tenancies in the Private Rented Sector”.

Of particular note were the calls for;

  • End to ‘no-fault evictions’
  • Strengthening of the section 8 possession process
  • Reform of the current process for housing cases in court

The government comments that the changes will benefit both landlords and their tenants by providing tenants with greater security and ability to plan for the future while landlords will benefit from a more “robust legal framework, with straightforward and swift possession processes.”

Read more about the announcement, including the response to the consultation, here.

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Buy to let battleground for landlord votes

Labour and the Tories are fighting a behind-the-scenes battle for the votes of millions of landlords and tenants with promises to revamp housing laws.

With a General Election in the air if Prime Minister Theresa May steps down, the private rental sector accounts for about 15 million votes – from landlords owning 4.5 million properties which are home to 11.5 million households.

At last year’s party conference, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour revealed plans to bolster the rights of tenants by scrapping Section 21 evictions, to upgrade living standards and to offer 36-month tenancy agreements.

The Tories have followed these changes in a bid to revitalise the private rented sector. Labour remain left with the bare bones of their strategy – to set up tenant unions across the country and to introduce rent controls in major cities.

In addition, former housing minister Dominic Raab has called for a series of housing reforms to support ‘generation rent’ as reported in the Sunday Telegraph.

Raab wants to scrap stamp duty on homes worth less than £500,000 and to share out capital gains tax (CGT) paid by landlords.

He is suggesting that the first £35,000 of any CGT bill should be split between landlords and tenants.

Landlords would pick up a third, while the balance would go to tenants as a discount to put towards a deposit for buying their home.