Local Housing Allowance

As a Landlord I am increasingly dumstruck at the previous governments idea to give tenants control over the housing benefit that they receive. This is simply not working. The tenants are receiving £300-£400 per month and not passing it on to the Landlords. This causes them problems paying for their buy to let mortgages and in turn causes Landlords to evict tenants who in turn start the whole process again. They fraudilently take money off the government, spend this on whatever they want and the Landlord is left out of pocket. I rang a tenant last week to see when she was going to pay her rent and she was in Spain!! How can she afford to go on holiday to Spain? She has enjoyed 2 weeks in the sun, come back, packed up some of her stuff, left the house a mess and has done a moonlight. This should never have happened. They cannot look after large amounts of money. Christmas time is a nightmare. They receive £400 a couple of weeks before Christmas and you honestly expect them to pass on this money. It does not happen. They have a jolly good time 

Why is this idea important?

As a Landlord I am increasingly dumstruck at the previous governments idea to give tenants control over the housing benefit that they receive. This is simply not working. The tenants are receiving £300-£400 per month and not passing it on to the Landlords. This causes them problems paying for their buy to let mortgages and in turn causes Landlords to evict tenants who in turn start the whole process again. They fraudilently take money off the government, spend this on whatever they want and the Landlord is left out of pocket. I rang a tenant last week to see when she was going to pay her rent and she was in Spain!! How can she afford to go on holiday to Spain? She has enjoyed 2 weeks in the sun, come back, packed up some of her stuff, left the house a mess and has done a moonlight. This should never have happened. They cannot look after large amounts of money. Christmas time is a nightmare. They receive £400 a couple of weeks before Christmas and you honestly expect them to pass on this money. It does not happen. They have a jolly good time 

Part p reform

Currently Part P of the building regs requires that competent persons test and certify electrical installation work. To become a competent person you need attain only the most basic of courses that are aimed at kitchen and bathroom fitters. This is all for the financial benefit of the training centres and governing bodies and not to the public at large.

I propose that the only people who can self certify their own work be time served electricians with the relevant up to date qualifications, and that their governing body carries out inspections of their businesses only every 24 months – yearly is too frequent, largely a box ticking excercise and again an easy fee earning ploy for governing bodies. If Part P is to be serious about improving safety then only time served electricians should test electrical work – part timers should be banned from the practice.

Why is this idea important?

Currently Part P of the building regs requires that competent persons test and certify electrical installation work. To become a competent person you need attain only the most basic of courses that are aimed at kitchen and bathroom fitters. This is all for the financial benefit of the training centres and governing bodies and not to the public at large.

I propose that the only people who can self certify their own work be time served electricians with the relevant up to date qualifications, and that their governing body carries out inspections of their businesses only every 24 months – yearly is too frequent, largely a box ticking excercise and again an easy fee earning ploy for governing bodies. If Part P is to be serious about improving safety then only time served electricians should test electrical work – part timers should be banned from the practice.

REMOVAL OF PART P BUILDING REGS

I note your statement indicating the removal of the Part P Electrical Control of the Building Regs with very much concern. The manner in which you appear to have drawn your conclusion is seriously flawed – but possibly deliberately so to provoke response.

From my position I would not expect to see this control removed from the electrical industry as it most definitely has significantly reduced the risk of electric shock accidents for residential customers and as a bi-product to commercial and industrial clients as well.

Your view that it has increased the cost to customers could well be true but to have properly controlled and registered electricians undertaking their work is excellent value, a confidence and safety matter and an added value to the property. It is not an onerous process if it is a natural part of your everyday work.

Also to assume that only large elecrical companies can afford to register and undertake Fuse Board changes etc, is total rubbish. I am a one man contractor, (as are several of my colleagues) and we have no problem meeting the cost of registration and completing the testing.

The truth of the matter is that if someone has gone out of business it is not because of Part P but because they were not working to the BS7671 regulations before and found it too difficult to operate and be assessed against – not a bad result for Part P Regulation.

It is good to hear that no accidents have occurred and that is the way to continue – if you scrap the Part P Control problems will result. Just try working with the Registration Organisations like NAPIT, ECA, etc and make the process as slick as possible BUT DO NOT DESTROY THE GAINS.

Why is this idea important?

I note your statement indicating the removal of the Part P Electrical Control of the Building Regs with very much concern. The manner in which you appear to have drawn your conclusion is seriously flawed – but possibly deliberately so to provoke response.

From my position I would not expect to see this control removed from the electrical industry as it most definitely has significantly reduced the risk of electric shock accidents for residential customers and as a bi-product to commercial and industrial clients as well.

Your view that it has increased the cost to customers could well be true but to have properly controlled and registered electricians undertaking their work is excellent value, a confidence and safety matter and an added value to the property. It is not an onerous process if it is a natural part of your everyday work.

Also to assume that only large elecrical companies can afford to register and undertake Fuse Board changes etc, is total rubbish. I am a one man contractor, (as are several of my colleagues) and we have no problem meeting the cost of registration and completing the testing.

The truth of the matter is that if someone has gone out of business it is not because of Part P but because they were not working to the BS7671 regulations before and found it too difficult to operate and be assessed against – not a bad result for Part P Regulation.

It is good to hear that no accidents have occurred and that is the way to continue – if you scrap the Part P Control problems will result. Just try working with the Registration Organisations like NAPIT, ECA, etc and make the process as slick as possible BUT DO NOT DESTROY THE GAINS.

REMOVAL OF PART P BUILDING REGS

I note your statement indicating the removal of the Part P Electrical Control of the Building Regs with very much concern. The manner in which you appear to have drawn your conclusion is seriously flawed – but possibly deliberately so to provoke response.

From my position I would not expect to see this control removed from the electrical industry as it most definitely has significantly reduced the risk of electric shock accidents for residential customers and as a bi-product to commercial and industrial clients as well.

Your view that it has increased the cost to customers could well be true but to have properly controlled and registered electricians undertaking their work is excellent value, a confidence and safety matter and an added value to the property. It is not an onerous process if it is a natural part of your everyday work.

Also to assume that only large elecrical companies can afford to register and undertake Fuse Board changes etc, is total rubbish. I am a one man contractor, (as are several of my colleagues) and we have no problem meeting the cost of registration and completing the testing.

The truth of the matter is that if someone has gone out of business it is not because of Part P but because they were not working to the BS7671 regulations before and found it too difficult to operate and be assessed against – not a bad result for Part P Regulation.

It is good to hear that no accidents have occurred and that is the way to continue – if you scrap the Part P Control problems will result. Just try working with the Registration Organisations like NAPIT, ECA, etc and make the process as slick as possible BUT DO NOT DESTROY THE GAINS.

Why is this idea important?

I note your statement indicating the removal of the Part P Electrical Control of the Building Regs with very much concern. The manner in which you appear to have drawn your conclusion is seriously flawed – but possibly deliberately so to provoke response.

From my position I would not expect to see this control removed from the electrical industry as it most definitely has significantly reduced the risk of electric shock accidents for residential customers and as a bi-product to commercial and industrial clients as well.

Your view that it has increased the cost to customers could well be true but to have properly controlled and registered electricians undertaking their work is excellent value, a confidence and safety matter and an added value to the property. It is not an onerous process if it is a natural part of your everyday work.

Also to assume that only large elecrical companies can afford to register and undertake Fuse Board changes etc, is total rubbish. I am a one man contractor, (as are several of my colleagues) and we have no problem meeting the cost of registration and completing the testing.

The truth of the matter is that if someone has gone out of business it is not because of Part P but because they were not working to the BS7671 regulations before and found it too difficult to operate and be assessed against – not a bad result for Part P Regulation.

It is good to hear that no accidents have occurred and that is the way to continue – if you scrap the Part P Control problems will result. Just try working with the Registration Organisations like NAPIT, ECA, etc and make the process as slick as possible BUT DO NOT DESTROY THE GAINS.

Parking, Estate & CPZ.

I live on an estate within LB Hammersmith & am allowed 1 estate parking permit only. Immediately adjacent to my block is a CPZ with dozens of free spaces. I am not allowed to apply for a CPZ permit because I live in the wrong block on the estate. Blocks on the far side of the estate can apply. This prevents any kind of business activity I may undertake as there is no other parking in the area. My estate is completely surrounded by another boro'.

This is a rediculous situation caused solely by local council bureacracy.

Why is this idea important?

I live on an estate within LB Hammersmith & am allowed 1 estate parking permit only. Immediately adjacent to my block is a CPZ with dozens of free spaces. I am not allowed to apply for a CPZ permit because I live in the wrong block on the estate. Blocks on the far side of the estate can apply. This prevents any kind of business activity I may undertake as there is no other parking in the area. My estate is completely surrounded by another boro'.

This is a rediculous situation caused solely by local council bureacracy.

Not everybody is fit to have parental responsibility

To ammend the Children's Act so that all domestic violence, emotional as well as physical is recognised and that the perpetrators have only supervised contact with their children. 

Why is this idea important?

To ammend the Children's Act so that all domestic violence, emotional as well as physical is recognised and that the perpetrators have only supervised contact with their children. 

local power

As the Transition Town movement has shown, there is a huge energy field waiting to be tapped in local communities if only the people are given suitable means to help themselves and organise their local environment responsibly. As peak oil and climate start to bite, the sustainability of local units will be key. Farmers' Markets are a perfect example of the way communities should be organised towards self-sufficiency. The question of advance signing is clearly crucial and the law preventing this should be changed asap. Local is advantageous in every respect: on the economy, on the ecology, on human health. The government should do all it can to encourage this trend, which is also, by the way, stimulating people out of their sense of powerlessness and the ensuing apathy that afflicts a large section of British life today. 

Why is this idea important?

As the Transition Town movement has shown, there is a huge energy field waiting to be tapped in local communities if only the people are given suitable means to help themselves and organise their local environment responsibly. As peak oil and climate start to bite, the sustainability of local units will be key. Farmers' Markets are a perfect example of the way communities should be organised towards self-sufficiency. The question of advance signing is clearly crucial and the law preventing this should be changed asap. Local is advantageous in every respect: on the economy, on the ecology, on human health. The government should do all it can to encourage this trend, which is also, by the way, stimulating people out of their sense of powerlessness and the ensuing apathy that afflicts a large section of British life today. 

Building regulations

Building Regulations are currently used as a method of increasing cost to home owners.  Where a new item is to be installed, then the regulations can apply but they should not apply to replacement items.  For example, I had to replace my oil boiler and it could not be installed under current regulations in the same place as it had been installed.  Considerable replumbing was necessary to get a replacement to what had been working well for 20 years.

If I wished to replace my oil tank, then it would not fit into my property under current regulations giving clearance to boundaries etc.  I would have to move away from oil and propane gas and only Electricity would comply with current regulations.

Why is this idea important?

Building Regulations are currently used as a method of increasing cost to home owners.  Where a new item is to be installed, then the regulations can apply but they should not apply to replacement items.  For example, I had to replace my oil boiler and it could not be installed under current regulations in the same place as it had been installed.  Considerable replumbing was necessary to get a replacement to what had been working well for 20 years.

If I wished to replace my oil tank, then it would not fit into my property under current regulations giving clearance to boundaries etc.  I would have to move away from oil and propane gas and only Electricity would comply with current regulations.

Reduce cost and bureaucracy of Listed Building and Conservation Area administration

Interference by Councils in the maintenance of Listed Buildings and buildings in Conservation Areas has become a hugely intrusive, expensive and inappropriate means of controlling issues of "taste" in public life by imposing on individuals and their property.

Reduction in this involvement and the charges made for it need to be achieved to take Local Government out of the detail of peoples lives and properties.

Examples are the charges levied for erecting a shed or greenhouse in the garden of a listed building, or for the change in colour of the paint work, or for replacing features such as gates, doors or windows with more appropriate styles. The need for involvement may be justified by the public good, but the degree of detailed involvement  by individuals from the Local Council and the charges made for this intrusion goes against the laws of natural justice. The imposition of public standards on individuals is arbitrary, and disproportionate to the good that arises. If such involvement is perceived to be necessary by government, then the cost should not be forced upon the individuals as well as the restriction of the regulations; it should be borne by the Council who should reduce their costs by efficient management and by good judgement in allowing suitable works and decisions to be made by the individual after appropriate advice and guidance (which can be by web pages or leaflets provided in advance of an application for consent).

If poor outcomes result then if the cost/benefit justifies the Council taking "enforcement action", then they can do so at their risk in a simplified panel of adjudication. Their experience in taking such action will provide a good track record to illustrate the Councils standards of management, both by the number of challenges they make an the success rate. This will also provide guidance for other individuals in such circumstances as to the standards that are acceptable and those that are not.

Why is this idea important?

Interference by Councils in the maintenance of Listed Buildings and buildings in Conservation Areas has become a hugely intrusive, expensive and inappropriate means of controlling issues of "taste" in public life by imposing on individuals and their property.

Reduction in this involvement and the charges made for it need to be achieved to take Local Government out of the detail of peoples lives and properties.

Examples are the charges levied for erecting a shed or greenhouse in the garden of a listed building, or for the change in colour of the paint work, or for replacing features such as gates, doors or windows with more appropriate styles. The need for involvement may be justified by the public good, but the degree of detailed involvement  by individuals from the Local Council and the charges made for this intrusion goes against the laws of natural justice. The imposition of public standards on individuals is arbitrary, and disproportionate to the good that arises. If such involvement is perceived to be necessary by government, then the cost should not be forced upon the individuals as well as the restriction of the regulations; it should be borne by the Council who should reduce their costs by efficient management and by good judgement in allowing suitable works and decisions to be made by the individual after appropriate advice and guidance (which can be by web pages or leaflets provided in advance of an application for consent).

If poor outcomes result then if the cost/benefit justifies the Council taking "enforcement action", then they can do so at their risk in a simplified panel of adjudication. Their experience in taking such action will provide a good track record to illustrate the Councils standards of management, both by the number of challenges they make an the success rate. This will also provide guidance for other individuals in such circumstances as to the standards that are acceptable and those that are not.

Collect TV licence with council tax to reduce collection costs

I would like to propose that the law be amended so that the licence is payable by all and is collected by local councils (as happens with Police & Fire services. This would remove an extra tier of tax collectors working for TV licensing whilst not increasing the staff or workload of local councils. 

This proposal keeps away from the debate on how to pay for the quality services of TV, radio and Internet that are provided through the current TV licence by the BBC. S4C, and others and is restricted to the collection mechanism.

Why is this idea important?

I would like to propose that the law be amended so that the licence is payable by all and is collected by local councils (as happens with Police & Fire services. This would remove an extra tier of tax collectors working for TV licensing whilst not increasing the staff or workload of local councils. 

This proposal keeps away from the debate on how to pay for the quality services of TV, radio and Internet that are provided through the current TV licence by the BBC. S4C, and others and is restricted to the collection mechanism.

Expand the Freedom of Information Act to include all social housing organisations

My housing organisation in the Richmond borough are building a truly MASSIVE new building for their offices while they already have office buildings in practically every town in the borough.Now I know they in receipt of public funding and accordingly I wrote to the housing manager to ask him under the Foe Act how much the building costs and where the money to build such an enormous construction in width, breadth and height came from. He curtly replied that he didn't have to give me such information. Please change the law so that all housing organisations in regular receipt of public funds (It must be costing millions!)discloses the financial details for there is another housing organisation which DOES disclose these figures in this borough. This is a waste of public money based on the pure greed of such landlords who, at the same time, are miserly and mean towards their tenants, refusing to spend a penny on many essential repairs, etcetera.

Why is this idea important?

My housing organisation in the Richmond borough are building a truly MASSIVE new building for their offices while they already have office buildings in practically every town in the borough.Now I know they in receipt of public funding and accordingly I wrote to the housing manager to ask him under the Foe Act how much the building costs and where the money to build such an enormous construction in width, breadth and height came from. He curtly replied that he didn't have to give me such information. Please change the law so that all housing organisations in regular receipt of public funds (It must be costing millions!)discloses the financial details for there is another housing organisation which DOES disclose these figures in this borough. This is a waste of public money based on the pure greed of such landlords who, at the same time, are miserly and mean towards their tenants, refusing to spend a penny on many essential repairs, etcetera.

Identity, Professional Bodies, forms ID1 & ID2

The previous government introduced regulations requiring solicitors, accountants and other professions to demand photo ID from clients. Should this not be at the discretion of the persons involved rather than a catch-all government regulation? This requirement should be removed.

Also introduced were forms ID1 and ID2 requiring again production of photo ID for the Land Registry to be changed. Since in most cases all that this does is execute the provisions of already legally recognised documents, what is the relevance of identity here? There is none. The identity requirements should be removed as unnecessary

Why is this idea important?

The previous government introduced regulations requiring solicitors, accountants and other professions to demand photo ID from clients. Should this not be at the discretion of the persons involved rather than a catch-all government regulation? This requirement should be removed.

Also introduced were forms ID1 and ID2 requiring again production of photo ID for the Land Registry to be changed. Since in most cases all that this does is execute the provisions of already legally recognised documents, what is the relevance of identity here? There is none. The identity requirements should be removed as unnecessary

Reduce police red tape

The police service currently pay Local Authorities for parking tickets which have been allocated in the course of their duties. One government department paying another makes no sense. many individuals are employed in simply processing these tickets and then payments.

Why is this idea important?

The police service currently pay Local Authorities for parking tickets which have been allocated in the course of their duties. One government department paying another makes no sense. many individuals are employed in simply processing these tickets and then payments.

HETAS (wood stoves) monopoly

HETAS was originally set up to do a bit of efficiency testing on solid fuel appliances. They have extended their control and misrepresent the legislation to monopolise the supply of stoves and unnecessary chimney liners. They use this to profit from 'training' and registration of installers increasing the costs by 1-2 thousand pounds.

They are now trying to impose control of wood fuel suppliers with £550 annual fees which includes £100 fee for inspecting 'paperwork' which for a typical business should only take 15 to 30 minutes at national average pay ratye ie about £10.

Why is this idea important?

HETAS was originally set up to do a bit of efficiency testing on solid fuel appliances. They have extended their control and misrepresent the legislation to monopolise the supply of stoves and unnecessary chimney liners. They use this to profit from 'training' and registration of installers increasing the costs by 1-2 thousand pounds.

They are now trying to impose control of wood fuel suppliers with £550 annual fees which includes £100 fee for inspecting 'paperwork' which for a typical business should only take 15 to 30 minutes at national average pay ratye ie about £10.

Water Industry Section 64 Amendment Needed!

Section 64 of the water Industry Act. Allows a water company to require that a new supply is installed if a property has been sub divided. The section is being misused to force Landlords of small divided properties to install new supply pipes and water meters where these are not necessary and to raise infrastructure charges on the pretence that there is an increase in demand where there is no increase in the number of people able to inhabit a property that had been subdivided and therefore no increase in demand. This part of the act has been badly written and there are further explanitory notes advising that water companies may not use the section to force the installation of meters on existing pipes. This is exactly what is happening.

An amendment is needed to state that, while a water company may  require a new service pipe to be laid where a property is sub divided, there must be clear evidence of  a higher occupation rate, or potential occupation rate, of the divided property before the water company may serve notice of the requirement.

Why is this idea important?

Section 64 of the water Industry Act. Allows a water company to require that a new supply is installed if a property has been sub divided. The section is being misused to force Landlords of small divided properties to install new supply pipes and water meters where these are not necessary and to raise infrastructure charges on the pretence that there is an increase in demand where there is no increase in the number of people able to inhabit a property that had been subdivided and therefore no increase in demand. This part of the act has been badly written and there are further explanitory notes advising that water companies may not use the section to force the installation of meters on existing pipes. This is exactly what is happening.

An amendment is needed to state that, while a water company may  require a new service pipe to be laid where a property is sub divided, there must be clear evidence of  a higher occupation rate, or potential occupation rate, of the divided property before the water company may serve notice of the requirement.

Planning restrictions

I would like to see a relaxing of unnecessary planning restrictions.

For example, I and three neighbours have all been turned down for permission to build a conservatory on the back of our houses.  This is silly.  The nearest house behind us is probably 5 miles away.  Nobody can see the conservatory from any angle and my next door neighbours have no objection to the building.  They can't see it either.  

What rational is there for refusing permission.

Relaxing the regulations would also help local trade, 3 orders for conservatories cannot now be placed because of antiquated restrictions.

Why is this idea important?

I would like to see a relaxing of unnecessary planning restrictions.

For example, I and three neighbours have all been turned down for permission to build a conservatory on the back of our houses.  This is silly.  The nearest house behind us is probably 5 miles away.  Nobody can see the conservatory from any angle and my next door neighbours have no objection to the building.  They can't see it either.  

What rational is there for refusing permission.

Relaxing the regulations would also help local trade, 3 orders for conservatories cannot now be placed because of antiquated restrictions.

Village Design Statement

Repeal whichever law gave us village design statements

Village Design Statements, at least as used in my area, are a complete waste of time and effort as they are completely ignored by the planning department. They simultaneously create the illusion of consultation while distracting the people most likely to make sensible comments on planning proposals.

Why is this idea important?

Repeal whichever law gave us village design statements

Village Design Statements, at least as used in my area, are a complete waste of time and effort as they are completely ignored by the planning department. They simultaneously create the illusion of consultation while distracting the people most likely to make sensible comments on planning proposals.

Remove business rates from empty and/or unused premises

That business rate should be charged on empty premises or those currently not in use is unsupportable. It also adds rather largely to the cost of planning for the future. One can imagine a business person obtaining premise too large for current operations but with the extra space being available for the future should the business prosper. That this business person should be penalised for their confidence in the future is not only unfair but is a disincentive. 

Why is this idea important?

That business rate should be charged on empty premises or those currently not in use is unsupportable. It also adds rather largely to the cost of planning for the future. One can imagine a business person obtaining premise too large for current operations but with the extra space being available for the future should the business prosper. That this business person should be penalised for their confidence in the future is not only unfair but is a disincentive. 

Give free access to National Land and Property Gazeteer data

The govenment holds a National Land and property gazeteer which is maintained by Local Authorities who keep it fully up to date as new properties are built and others demolished. It contains a unique property identifier (a UPRN) which identifies a property and is used as the basis of almost all Local Government and Central governmemt address records.  So for example, every time a planning application is registered by a Local Authority, it is matched to the UPRN in thier own address database.

 

This makes it easy to find all data held by Local Authorities and Government departments – so if you are buying a house, you can quickly and ACCURATELY find out about issues affecting your intended purchace.

 

All Local Authorities use the UPRN as an address reference, and it is a key feature needed in improving the accuracy of electronic communications involving property information – and yet we seem to make it as difficult as possible for those outside government to get access to this data.

 

If all those conducting electronic commumications (submitting a planning application for example) had access to this address data, and could therfore include the UPRN in thier electronic submission it would significantly reduce the processing time once received by the Local Authority who can immediately and automatically register the information against the correct property record.

 

It does not sound much – but I am currently working on a project (not planning I would point out) where if the person sending the information could include the UPRN in the submission I calculate savings to Local Authorities of 5 million pounds a year would result. And that is just one small project.

 

So my point is – making this information available free to  those who conduct electronic communications with Local Authorities and Government departments will save infinately more than you can ever generate by trying to sell the data as is the case now.

Why is this idea important?

The govenment holds a National Land and property gazeteer which is maintained by Local Authorities who keep it fully up to date as new properties are built and others demolished. It contains a unique property identifier (a UPRN) which identifies a property and is used as the basis of almost all Local Government and Central governmemt address records.  So for example, every time a planning application is registered by a Local Authority, it is matched to the UPRN in thier own address database.

 

This makes it easy to find all data held by Local Authorities and Government departments – so if you are buying a house, you can quickly and ACCURATELY find out about issues affecting your intended purchace.

 

All Local Authorities use the UPRN as an address reference, and it is a key feature needed in improving the accuracy of electronic communications involving property information – and yet we seem to make it as difficult as possible for those outside government to get access to this data.

 

If all those conducting electronic commumications (submitting a planning application for example) had access to this address data, and could therfore include the UPRN in thier electronic submission it would significantly reduce the processing time once received by the Local Authority who can immediately and automatically register the information against the correct property record.

 

It does not sound much – but I am currently working on a project (not planning I would point out) where if the person sending the information could include the UPRN in the submission I calculate savings to Local Authorities of 5 million pounds a year would result. And that is just one small project.

 

So my point is – making this information available free to  those who conduct electronic communications with Local Authorities and Government departments will save infinately more than you can ever generate by trying to sell the data as is the case now.

Administration Charges

Under the Commonhold Leasehold Reform Act 2002 notice has to be given where an administration charge is made. This really meant to cover long leasehold properties e.g. owner/occupied flats. The landlord cannot recover the administration charge without giving the notice. However it also applies to short term residential lets for assured tenancies/assured shorthold tenancies. This was really an unintended consequence. Tenants under short term lets are protected anyway under the consumer legislation contained in the Unfair Contract Terms Regulations. There is Office of Fair Trading guidance on this. Assured tenancy is not exceeding seven years in length (including assured shorthold tenancies) should be exempt from this requirement including periodic tenancies e.g. monthly tenancies. 

Why is this idea important?

Under the Commonhold Leasehold Reform Act 2002 notice has to be given where an administration charge is made. This really meant to cover long leasehold properties e.g. owner/occupied flats. The landlord cannot recover the administration charge without giving the notice. However it also applies to short term residential lets for assured tenancies/assured shorthold tenancies. This was really an unintended consequence. Tenants under short term lets are protected anyway under the consumer legislation contained in the Unfair Contract Terms Regulations. There is Office of Fair Trading guidance on this. Assured tenancy is not exceeding seven years in length (including assured shorthold tenancies) should be exempt from this requirement including periodic tenancies e.g. monthly tenancies. 

Power of entry

There is a lot of concern on the part of residential landlords about Local Authority official’s powers of entry to residential accommodation. In appropriate cases they already have powers to enter without notice e.g. to investigate possible crimes. However in other cases they have to give proper notice including notice to the landlord that they intend to enter. Landlords should be made aware of when their property is being entered by Local Authority officials. Local Authorities at the moment try to get around this requirement by getting the permission from an occupier and relying on this. Sometime however the occupier may only be one of the occupiers in the property and may only occupy part of it. Where notice is required to enter Local Authorities should no longer be allowed to sidestep this by relying on tenants supposed permission/invitations to enter. If they go to see a tenant by invitation of the tenant it should simply be to talk to the tenant and not to formally inspect the property. They should have to go through the proper procedures to carry out an inspection/survey of the property.

Why is this idea important?

There is a lot of concern on the part of residential landlords about Local Authority official’s powers of entry to residential accommodation. In appropriate cases they already have powers to enter without notice e.g. to investigate possible crimes. However in other cases they have to give proper notice including notice to the landlord that they intend to enter. Landlords should be made aware of when their property is being entered by Local Authority officials. Local Authorities at the moment try to get around this requirement by getting the permission from an occupier and relying on this. Sometime however the occupier may only be one of the occupiers in the property and may only occupy part of it. Where notice is required to enter Local Authorities should no longer be allowed to sidestep this by relying on tenants supposed permission/invitations to enter. If they go to see a tenant by invitation of the tenant it should simply be to talk to the tenant and not to formally inspect the property. They should have to go through the proper procedures to carry out an inspection/survey of the property.

Evicting squatters from private rented sector properties

Landlords of all rented residential accommodation should be able to evict squatters without the need to obtain a Court Order. This would have to be done by licensed bailiff to make sure it was done correctly. Currently there is a rather obscure hardly ever used procedure where a resident owner/occupier can evict squatters in residential accommodation without the need to go to Court. This in itself needs simplifying. Landlords have rented residential accommodation should be entitled to use this procedure. As an option instead of using a certified bailiff the police could be involved e.g. where there is a particular fear of violence etc.

Why is this idea important?

Landlords of all rented residential accommodation should be able to evict squatters without the need to obtain a Court Order. This would have to be done by licensed bailiff to make sure it was done correctly. Currently there is a rather obscure hardly ever used procedure where a resident owner/occupier can evict squatters in residential accommodation without the need to go to Court. This in itself needs simplifying. Landlords have rented residential accommodation should be entitled to use this procedure. As an option instead of using a certified bailiff the police could be involved e.g. where there is a particular fear of violence etc.

Fire safety in residential accomodation

The law on fire safety for residential accommodation is extremely complex. All properties are covered by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). If the property is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) then depending on whether it is licensed or not (five occupants or more and three storeys or more) then license conditions will deal with fire safety. Other HMOs are covered by the HMO Management Regulations. If the property is bedsits or flats then in addition the Fire Safety Order (Regulatory Reform Order) (FSO) applies. This results from gold plating of European legislation. Where the FSO applies strictly speaking it only applies to the common parts not the individual units e.g. flats. This in itself is nonsense because you need to look at the building as a whole!

The Residential Landlords Association believes that residential accommodation should be taken outside the FSO altogether so that it is simply dealt with under HHRS and where applicable the relevant HMO legislation. Special provision would need to be made for mixed residential/business accommodation e.g. flats over shops. Where there are workers at the property (e.g. a caretaker) the employer would still be responsible for fire safety of any non resident worker at the premises. In the usual way the employer would have to carry out the appropriate risk assessment (but not on the tenants/residents). Where the employee was resident when not working e.g. live in care taker, then he/she would be treated like any other tenant/resident. Caretaker etc residential accommodation would be treated like other resident/tenant accommodation. Deciding which legislation applies is a nightmare. Bringing the non domestic parts of buildings such as flats and bedsits into the FSO net was wholly unnecessary. It resulted because two pieces of legislation were being taken through Parliament at the time and no one tried to mesh the two together.  

Why is this idea important?

The law on fire safety for residential accommodation is extremely complex. All properties are covered by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). If the property is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) then depending on whether it is licensed or not (five occupants or more and three storeys or more) then license conditions will deal with fire safety. Other HMOs are covered by the HMO Management Regulations. If the property is bedsits or flats then in addition the Fire Safety Order (Regulatory Reform Order) (FSO) applies. This results from gold plating of European legislation. Where the FSO applies strictly speaking it only applies to the common parts not the individual units e.g. flats. This in itself is nonsense because you need to look at the building as a whole!

The Residential Landlords Association believes that residential accommodation should be taken outside the FSO altogether so that it is simply dealt with under HHRS and where applicable the relevant HMO legislation. Special provision would need to be made for mixed residential/business accommodation e.g. flats over shops. Where there are workers at the property (e.g. a caretaker) the employer would still be responsible for fire safety of any non resident worker at the premises. In the usual way the employer would have to carry out the appropriate risk assessment (but not on the tenants/residents). Where the employee was resident when not working e.g. live in care taker, then he/she would be treated like any other tenant/resident. Caretaker etc residential accommodation would be treated like other resident/tenant accommodation. Deciding which legislation applies is a nightmare. Bringing the non domestic parts of buildings such as flats and bedsits into the FSO net was wholly unnecessary. It resulted because two pieces of legislation were being taken through Parliament at the time and no one tried to mesh the two together.  

Possession claims under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988

The Residential Landlords Association believes we can abolish the need to automatically have to obtain a court order to obtain possession from an assured shorthold tenant under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. Where Section 21 applies the Court must made an order for possession anyway. Landlords therefore are put to extra time trouble and expense of having to take Court proceedings which are really not necessary and the tenant may end up having to pay the costs. The purpose of this is to ensure that the tenant is protected from do it yourself evictions. This protection can be given more simply and cheaply without adversely impacting on tenants rights. The RLA believes that they provided the necessary requirements were met, having given a Section 21 Notice, the landlord should be entitled to instruct a licensed bailiff to carry out the eviction. The bailiff would have to be satisfied with the paperwork was in order before evicting the tenant. Under our proposals there would be prescribed Notice for Section 21. This would have to warn the tenant that instead of the landlord having to go to Court the tenant would need to apply to the Court to stop the eviction e.g. because the tenant claimed that it was not an assured shorthold tenancy at all or the landlord failed to follow the correct procedures. The tenant would also be safeguarded because the licensed bailiff would have to make sure that the correct procedures were followed. We are not proposing that anyone can carry out an eviction. The necessary process of a supervising  the eviction should be instead be carried out by licensed bailiff without having to get a Court Order.

Coupled with this we advocate that Section 21 Notice for periodic tenancy (which must currently run out on the last day of term period of a tenancy) should be able to run out at any time. This is a position where the notices are given while the fixed term of the tenancy is still running. This unnecessary requirement causes a lot of problems to landlords. This is a trap for the unwary. The tenant would still be protected because he/she would have to receive a minimum of two months notice anyway. Any rent payable in advance could then be refundable. It would be refundable for the broken period of the tenancy which then remains. 

Why is this idea important?

The Residential Landlords Association believes we can abolish the need to automatically have to obtain a court order to obtain possession from an assured shorthold tenant under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. Where Section 21 applies the Court must made an order for possession anyway. Landlords therefore are put to extra time trouble and expense of having to take Court proceedings which are really not necessary and the tenant may end up having to pay the costs. The purpose of this is to ensure that the tenant is protected from do it yourself evictions. This protection can be given more simply and cheaply without adversely impacting on tenants rights. The RLA believes that they provided the necessary requirements were met, having given a Section 21 Notice, the landlord should be entitled to instruct a licensed bailiff to carry out the eviction. The bailiff would have to be satisfied with the paperwork was in order before evicting the tenant. Under our proposals there would be prescribed Notice for Section 21. This would have to warn the tenant that instead of the landlord having to go to Court the tenant would need to apply to the Court to stop the eviction e.g. because the tenant claimed that it was not an assured shorthold tenancy at all or the landlord failed to follow the correct procedures. The tenant would also be safeguarded because the licensed bailiff would have to make sure that the correct procedures were followed. We are not proposing that anyone can carry out an eviction. The necessary process of a supervising  the eviction should be instead be carried out by licensed bailiff without having to get a Court Order.

Coupled with this we advocate that Section 21 Notice for periodic tenancy (which must currently run out on the last day of term period of a tenancy) should be able to run out at any time. This is a position where the notices are given while the fixed term of the tenancy is still running. This unnecessary requirement causes a lot of problems to landlords. This is a trap for the unwary. The tenant would still be protected because he/she would have to receive a minimum of two months notice anyway. Any rent payable in advance could then be refundable. It would be refundable for the broken period of the tenancy which then remains.