Richard Blanco and his guests take a look at the issues facing the private rented sector and the topics featured in the media recently.
Joining Richard on the panel is Chris Norris, Director of Policy and Practice at the NLA, and Nigel Lewis, Head of Content at The Negotiator.
Housing now has a ministry
Housing now comes under the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, complete with a Secretary of State, a Minister of State for Housing, and an Under Secretary of State. The latter two, Dominic Raab and Heather Wheeler, don’t have a track record in housing, so how committed to the sector are they? And will they last longer than six months?
Pets and the Labour Party
Labour announced their belief that people shouldn’t be denied the ability to have pets just because they can’t afford a house. Currently, landlords need to provide a valid reason to refuse their tenants’ requests for pets and can charge higher deposits when they allow them. Will the deposits cap increase the number of landlords who refuse to allow pets?
What does the ‘No DSS’ case really mean for landlords?
A single mother recently settled out of court with a letting agent who refused to consider her as a tenant because she receives housing benefit. She claimed she was indirectly discriminated against as women, especially single mums, are more likely to receive housing benefits.
Is this the landmark ruling the media are saying it is? And what steps will landlords and letting agents need to take to ensure they aren’t being discriminatory?
Consultations and legislation
Letting agents are required to be members of a redress scheme, but landlords are not. The Government is currently consulting on whether they should be, but how effective are the schemes? Does the process need to be simplified?
The Fitness for Human Habitation Bill is making its way through parliament. It won’t change anything for decent landlords, but are they worried about it anyway?
Electrical and gas safety
Landlords are required to carry out yearly gas safety checks, but can have difficulty accessing their properties. New MoT-style checks have been introduced, so will this help landlords comply with their legal responsibilities? What effect does not giving tenants with gas safety certificates have on serving section 21 notices?
Eddie Hughes MP is campaigning for mandatory carbon monoxide alarms for any property with fuel burning appliances. Does this need to be regulated or should landlords, and all home owners, be doing this anyway?
Changes afoot for HMOs and Article 4 directions
There will be a change in scope for mandatory HMO licenses in October. How much difference will this make for landlords with HMOs?
Article 4 directions remove permitted development rights in specific areas and can be used by councils to prevent landlords changing family homes into HMOs. In December, the Government slipped in a couple of changes to the overarching legislation. What will this mean for landlords and are councils themselves even aware of these changes?