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Labour's Proposed Tenancy Law Reforms

(128 Posts)
Rommell Thu 01-May-14 14:08:39

Miliband announces long-overdue reforms concerning security of tenure, agency fees and a mechanism to determine rent rises, but stops short of rent capping. Dangerously Communist or a sensible measure to protect the millions reliant on a largely unregulated private rental market?

claig Thu 01-May-14 14:11:32

'Dangerously Communist or a sensible measure to protect the millions reliant on a largely unregulated private rental market?'

Not sure about this one. I will wait and see what the Daily Mail says before making up my mind.

Rommell Thu 01-May-14 14:13:39

I should imagine there will be much weeping and wailing and grinding of teeth over there.

ReallyTired Thu 01-May-14 14:26:55

I'll worry about labour's policies when there is some chance of them winning the next election.

Some of labour's good intentions could back fire on the tenant. However too many controlls will make existing landlords sell.

I feel that a letting agent should be mutral between the landlord and tenant. It is not right if an agency always takes a landlord's side. If the tenant pays nothing then the agency will treat them like shit.

Three year contracts are daft. Many tenants don't want to be tied in that long.

I don't mind landlords only being able to raise rent once a year.

I would like to see legistation to regulate the behaviour of letting agencies better. I have experienced appauling behaviour from letting agencies both as a landlord and a tenant. In particular I would like to see:

a) All letting agents should be registered and part of an approved organisation like ARLA. There should be the power to disbar certain people from being letting agents and prehaps companies should employ someone who has passed ARLA exams.

b) Letting agents should ensure that the tenant's desposit goes into a proper scheme if the landlord has used a tenant finder service.

Rommell Thu 01-May-14 15:02:16

The tenant can give notice during the three years though - it's just the landlord that can't unless certain circumstances apply. I know - radical!

MinesAPintOfTea Thu 01-May-14 15:28:39

I think its a good idea. Might provide a bit of downwards pressure on house prices to get normal homes within the reach of an average wage and even if it doesn't it will allow families a bit more stability.

I love the idea of tighter restrictions on letting agent fees as well. They are employed by the landlord, not the tenant.

Isitmebut Thu 01-May-14 15:33:51

No worries but there is another post going on this over on 'Politics'.

Just saying.

Rommell Thu 01-May-14 16:35:10

Letting agent fees are a scam - it's actually illegal to charge tenants for finding them a property but the agencies get around this by saying they are for 'administration' or 'referencing'.

specialsubject Thu 01-May-14 18:08:28

Agency fees are huge on both sides. But the penalty for letting in the wrong tenant is much bigger even now - so there is no real alternative to all the references and checks as otherwise there's no chance of insurance.

will also believe Millibean a) if he gets elected and b) keeps any of his promises.

Rommell Thu 01-May-14 21:40:53

Agency fees should be paid by the landlord. Agree that there should be referencing and checks (although I would quite like to see some kind of system where landlords could supply references to their tenants - you know - how many deposits have you kept and why, how often have you raised the rent in the past five years, that kind of thing) but there is no way that they cost £500 - it's just the old 'key money' thing but dressed up as though they are keeping with the law, which they are not.

PortofinoRevisited Thu 01-May-14 21:45:57

In Belgium a 9 year lease is standard. You have to pay a penalty to leave in the first 3 years but the rent can only be raised in line with indexation and the the landlord can only ask you to leave under certain strict conditions. Why should this not be standard everywhere?

Rommell Thu 01-May-14 21:48:54

Thatcher, in short, plus every PM after her. We used to have rent controls and security of tenure in the UK, but she introduced the AST and tenants have been fucked ever since because no-one else has reversed it.

balenciaga Thu 01-May-14 21:51:40

Watching with interest

Sounds good in theory ....

specialsubject Thu 01-May-14 21:53:31

deposits must now legally be protected in a scheme, so landlords can't keep them for the hell of it. This has been the case since 2007, do keep up.

past history on rent is irrelevant - circumstances drive rent. CBA to type out my story on this. Rent for my current BTL won't be going up for the foreseeable future.

the best reference is the state of the house.

as I keep saying - don't rent dumps.

monopoly123 Thu 01-May-14 21:54:44

As a landlord, we haven't increased our rent on our tenants for 5yrs. One tenant is a month in arrears - she has a young family and looks after the house well, I really hope she doesn't get further in arrears - we've told her to make it up when she can.
We're not all bad.

Rommell Thu 01-May-14 22:00:58

Erm, I am aware of the TDS etc but if landlords are entitled to instruct agents to scrutinise tenants' bank statements etc, why aren't tenants entitled to scrutinise landlords' performance? After all, renting from a shitty landlord is a particularly horrible experience as it is your home, your roof over your head, that is on the line. Other things they could ask (in my ideal world) is whether the landlord has ever had rent money withheld due to not fulfilling their (frankly nugatory) repairing obligations, whether they have enough money so that the house doesn't get repossessed etc. I'm sure I'll think of more.

HeeHiles Thu 01-May-14 22:01:20

He needs to focus on council housing not the private rental market - Private rents are over stretched due to lack of CH - build more CH and the rental market will be less crazy and hopefully prices will calm down and letting agents will be less inclined to try and rip tenants off!

SolomanDaisy Thu 01-May-14 22:02:10

I'm not sure why they've just picked these things, rather than gone for a widespread discussion about what needs to change. They seem pretty sensible suggestions, but my understanding is that in countries with better tenant rights there are often more responsibilities, such as paying for the insurance and being responsible for more maintenance. That's probably worth looking at too.

Rommell Thu 01-May-14 22:08:09

Agree HeeHiles that more council housing needs to be built, and any revenues from RTB re-invested in building that housing. But the private sector rental market does desperately need to be overhauled.

ReallyTired Thu 01-May-14 22:15:28


My latest tenant did ask for a reference for me as landlord and my other tenant wrote me a lovely reference. I hope that my new tenant is happy with me.

I think you would be justifed in asking for a credit check on a landlord and asking them if they have ever been late or missed a mortgage payment. I feel that people with recent or serious criminal records should be barred from managing property. (ie. Nicholas van Hoogstraten

As a landlord the last thing I want to do is to tie people into contracts for years. I think that AST work well for both landlord and tenants.

"In Belgium a 9 year lease is standard. You have to pay a penalty to leave in the first 3 years but the rent can only be raised in line with indexation and the the landlord can only ask you to leave under certain strict conditions. Why should this not be standard everywhere?"

Eek a nine year lease is stupid. Especially if the person has to pay a penalty if they leave in the first 3 years. People need the flexiblity to move if their personal circumstances change. For example one of my tenants has got himself a girlfriend. If they decide to move in together then my tenant might choose to give notice.

Sometimes a landlord and tenant relationship breaks down. It can be better for everyone if they part company.

I think that we need to look at the regulation of letting agents

Caitlin17 Thu 01-May-14 22:40:30

I know several people who were seconded to EU offices in Brussels. All rented privately and none of them were on 9 year leases. Nor would have wanted them.

ReallyTired Thu 01-May-14 22:45:23

My tenants have always prefered to go on to a rolling contract instead of a second AST. Most tenants are happy with assured tenancies.

We need to regulate letting agents and stop criminals going into property management. (Ie. if someone with a criminal record or wants to rent out a property then they should be forced to use a fully managed service with a registered letttings agent.)

Caitlin17 Thu 01-May-14 22:48:55

Landlords would only be able to terminate contracts with two months notice if a tenant fell into arrears or was guilty of anti-social behaviour; or if the landlord wanted to sell the property or needed it for their family. This is designed to prevent landlords from terminating tenancy agreements to put up rent

I could live with this. 2 months' arrears is an improvement on what we have in Scotland at present we need 3 months'arrears before eviction action can even be started. Neither of my flats are flats that a family would stay in long term. One is very definitely a young single person's flat and the other is very much for the people on secondment market. As long as I can be sure of getting it back for myself if my circumstances change that will be acceptable. Although none of my tenants would have wanted a 3 year tenancy.

BTW all agency and upfront fees apart from a deposit are illegal in Scotland.

MinesAPintOfTea Fri 02-May-14 07:25:41

ReallyTired given as the law stands the landlord's responsibilities can't be delegated (only contacted out) I think it should be possible to bar someone from being a landlord like they can be barred from being a company director. This could include people with certain criminal records.

Caitlin17 Fri 02-May-14 07:29:11

That already is possible in Scotland via the landlord registration rules.

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