Aside from the COVID-19 pandemic, a key theme of 2020 has been diversity and inclusivity. This two-part update addresses this theme in detail
For all private landlords (including housing associations but excluding local authorities) – there is help in Part 3 to tackle abandoned premises potentially without court proceedings.
- Landlords can end an assured shorthold tenancy on giving a tenant a notice - tenancy then ends that day.
- 3 warning notices need to have been served beforehand – 3rd being fixed to a conspicuous part of the property.
- The tenant must have 8 consecutive weeks (or 2 months if monthly) rent arrears.
- There is a procedure for the tenant to apply to seek reinstatement in court.
- This won’t help with abandoned properties where housing benefit pays the rent but will prove very useful otherwise. Time to update the abandonment policy and procedure…
Pay to Stay – known as High Income Social tenants (HISTs) – Part 4 chapter 3
- All the detail that was the subject of extensive debate in Parliament (the income level triggers, what counts as household income, annual increase of the trigger levels etc) are to be found in regulations yet to be published.
- Remains mandatory for local authorities and optional for housing associations but if a housing association chooses to have a policy then it must publish it (section 89).
The Act introduces a range of penalties for “rogue” landlords and property agents in Part 2
- Banning orders – banning a person from being a landlord if they have been convicted of particular offences.
- Rent repayment orders (RRO) – a tenant or a local authority can apply to the First Tier Tribunal for an RRO if the landlord has committed various offences, which include failure to comply with a Housing Act 2004 improvement or prohibition notice or illegal eviction. The RRO is then recoverable as a debt.
Huge changes for local authorities with the introduction of new secure tenancies in Part 4 chapter 6 - old secure tenancies now aptly called “old style secure tenancies”
- All new secure tenancies must be fixed-term tenancies of between 2 and 10 years, though the maximum period is extended (where a child aged under 9 will live in the property) to the day the child reaches 19.
- Review processes introduced to challenge the length of the fixed term offered and to review the decision made on whether to grant a new tenancy to the end of the fixed term.
- Succession changes – any succession (other than to a spouse or partner) granted under the tenancy agreement e.g. to a family member – will take effect after “vesting” as a fixed-term tenancy of 5 years. No more succession to lifetime tenancies unless it’s a spouse or partner successor.
Electrical safety – Part 5
Regulations (awaited) can impose duties on private landlords of residential premises to ensure electrical safety standards are met. Regulations will imply terms into a tenancy so a tenant or Local authority can enforce them.
For more information
Please contact Helen Tucker
Covid-19 has resulted, on the whole, in a marked co-operation between contracting authorities and their suppliers as everybody focuses on maintaining delivery as far as possible.
Employment Tribunal rules in favour of claimants in minimum wage case – has the interpretation of “working time” changed?
As we enter a recession, we have been here before, and a key question is what did we learn and how can we benefit from that learning?
It is anticipated that as lockdown restrictions ease, and particularly with children and young adults returning to education, cases of meningitis will start to rise.
As we continue to emerge from lockdown measures and deal with local measures and the short and long term economic impact of Covid-19, local authorities will need to re-assess how services will be delivered for years to come.
The Government first announced plans for a shared ownership right to buy in October 2019. At the time the sector raised concerns about the impact the plans would have on housing associations ability to borrow. An election and a pandemic later the Government announced, during the CIH Housing Festival last week, the return of the right to shared ownership as part of its Affordable Homes Programme (AHP).
Two final pieces of the possession jigsaw have been published on 15 September 2020. Mr Justice Knowles’ working group on possession proceedings has issued its guidance on the “overall arrangements” for possession proceedings.
One change proposed by the Building Safety Bill is the introduction of a duty holder regime, which will see statutory responsibility for the safety of higher risk buildings placed on key individuals
Throughout this pandemic, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been publishing various “Statements on Coronavirus” (Statements) which provide guidance on consumer rights during this time.
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