Cancel direct payment of Housing Benefit to tenants

A flawed policy introduced by the previous administration was direct payment of Housing Benefit to private tenants. This has led to increased difficulty for tenants in taking responsibility for these payments, and payments to landlords is only possible after an 8 week default period. This increases the burden on tenants, Local Authorities, and landlords alike.

 

I have personally seen an increase in rent defaults and an increasing reluctance to take on DSS tenants with no guarantee of income. This is a worrying change in attitude and would have a detrimental effect on the tenants who are actually in greatest need of support from the community. Local Authorities do not have the resources to scrutinise how long a Tenant has been in arrears, so that often the landlord will not receive payment until much later than 8 weeks (if at all).

Why is this idea important?

A flawed policy introduced by the previous administration was direct payment of Housing Benefit to private tenants. This has led to increased difficulty for tenants in taking responsibility for these payments, and payments to landlords is only possible after an 8 week default period. This increases the burden on tenants, Local Authorities, and landlords alike.

 

I have personally seen an increase in rent defaults and an increasing reluctance to take on DSS tenants with no guarantee of income. This is a worrying change in attitude and would have a detrimental effect on the tenants who are actually in greatest need of support from the community. Local Authorities do not have the resources to scrutinise how long a Tenant has been in arrears, so that often the landlord will not receive payment until much later than 8 weeks (if at all).

Energy performance certificates where landlords pay bills

I agree that energy performance certificates are useful for tenants who pay their bills on properties, but I think it is ridiculous that this is a requirement for Landlords where the property is a short let and the landlord pays the bills. It is pointless, as it is not achieving anything, and just adding an extra cost onto what is a costly process, when the gas, electricity and other checks and fees have been paid for.

Why is this idea important?

I agree that energy performance certificates are useful for tenants who pay their bills on properties, but I think it is ridiculous that this is a requirement for Landlords where the property is a short let and the landlord pays the bills. It is pointless, as it is not achieving anything, and just adding an extra cost onto what is a costly process, when the gas, electricity and other checks and fees have been paid for.

Tenant opt-out of Gas Safety Regulations 1998 – Annual safety check by Landlords. (Statutory Instrument 1998 No. 2451)

I am a tenant.

 

Every year my Landlord is forced to inspect my gas appliances in accordance with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

 

Each year I get strongly worded letters from my Landlord about legal action if I fail to comply and my landlord's "legal duties" to inspect my gas appliances.


These gas safety checks are an unwarranted invasion of my privacy. In all the years the checks have been happening, nothing unsafe has ever been detected therefore I suggest tenants should be able to opt-out of these safety checks if the tenant so desires. These safety checks are a waste of time and money. These safety checks invade my privacy without valid cause.


I am sick and tired of being told: “Failure to allow access may result in legal proceedings and issued, the costs of which you will be liable.”


If there is anything unsafe with my gas appliances I will be the first person to contact my Landlord. Instead of this nanny-state intervention I think tenants should be free to make their own judgements regarding when their gas appliances need servicing, or at least tenants should be able to opt-out of the annual: “SERVICE AND SAFETY CHECK OF GAS APPLIANCES.”


I simply want to protect my right to a private life.

Statutory Instrument 1998 No. 2451

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998


http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1998/19982451.htm

 

See also "DUTIES OF LANDLORDS"

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1998/98245104.htm#36

Why is this idea important?

I am a tenant.

 

Every year my Landlord is forced to inspect my gas appliances in accordance with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

 

Each year I get strongly worded letters from my Landlord about legal action if I fail to comply and my landlord's "legal duties" to inspect my gas appliances.


These gas safety checks are an unwarranted invasion of my privacy. In all the years the checks have been happening, nothing unsafe has ever been detected therefore I suggest tenants should be able to opt-out of these safety checks if the tenant so desires. These safety checks are a waste of time and money. These safety checks invade my privacy without valid cause.


I am sick and tired of being told: “Failure to allow access may result in legal proceedings and issued, the costs of which you will be liable.”


If there is anything unsafe with my gas appliances I will be the first person to contact my Landlord. Instead of this nanny-state intervention I think tenants should be free to make their own judgements regarding when their gas appliances need servicing, or at least tenants should be able to opt-out of the annual: “SERVICE AND SAFETY CHECK OF GAS APPLIANCES.”


I simply want to protect my right to a private life.

Statutory Instrument 1998 No. 2451

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998


http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1998/19982451.htm

 

See also "DUTIES OF LANDLORDS"

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1998/98245104.htm#36

Private Sector Tenants’ Rights: End 2 Month Notice Period

Amend the current Landlord and Tenant Legislation to give Tenants in the Private Rented Sector more security.

Currently, a Landlord can force a Tenant out of their home with two months notice, with no reason given. The tenant has no right of appeal.

This is wildly out of line with rental contracts in Europe, where the typical French contract lasts for 3-4 years, and in Germany they can continue indefinitely.

Why is this idea important?

Amend the current Landlord and Tenant Legislation to give Tenants in the Private Rented Sector more security.

Currently, a Landlord can force a Tenant out of their home with two months notice, with no reason given. The tenant has no right of appeal.

This is wildly out of line with rental contracts in Europe, where the typical French contract lasts for 3-4 years, and in Germany they can continue indefinitely.

Unfair shorthold tenancy agreements

Shorthold tenancies were supposed to aid both tenant and landlord. They do not. In the most important aspect of all, that of disclosure, they aid only the landlord.

Currently both parties sign a shorthold tenancy agreement. Once a tenant moves in, if the they discover something which makes living in the property unbearable, the tenant cannot move out without financial penalty unless they find a replacement tenant. This is wrong. There should be a one month cooling-off period where the tenant can leave the property without penalty (provided of course they have paid rent for the month) if they discover something which was not disclosed to them. Whether the landlord was aware or not. It is the landlords duty to ensure the property is habitable both physically and otherwise.

Why is this idea important?

Shorthold tenancies were supposed to aid both tenant and landlord. They do not. In the most important aspect of all, that of disclosure, they aid only the landlord.

Currently both parties sign a shorthold tenancy agreement. Once a tenant moves in, if the they discover something which makes living in the property unbearable, the tenant cannot move out without financial penalty unless they find a replacement tenant. This is wrong. There should be a one month cooling-off period where the tenant can leave the property without penalty (provided of course they have paid rent for the month) if they discover something which was not disclosed to them. Whether the landlord was aware or not. It is the landlords duty to ensure the property is habitable both physically and otherwise.

s.10A Landlord & Tenant Act 1987

This section makes it an offence not to offer lessees pre-emption rights on the disposal of a Freehold by a landlord.  Pre-emption rights are essentially a civil matter between landlords and tenants and the legislation provides excellent remedies where pre-emption rights have not been offered.  The purchaser can be forced to sell to the lessees at a price that the purchaser paid.  The purchaser ends up out of pocket for his legal expenses and other expenses of purchase including stamp duty.  That is a disincentive for any purchaser to purchase a property without ensuring that the seller has first offered pre-emption rights.

It is fundamentally wrong to enforce civil remedies with criminal sanctions.  This introduces direct state interference in the relationship of landlord and tenant.  Whereas it is the function of government to regulate such relationships by the introduction of the sort of laws that we see in the earlier sections in this act it is not the function of the state then to directly enforce by criminal sanctions.  The lessees can enforce through the County Court and that is perfectly adequate.

I am not actually aware of any prosecutions under this section which suggests that the section is just unnecessary legislation which can be removed.

Why is this idea important?

This section makes it an offence not to offer lessees pre-emption rights on the disposal of a Freehold by a landlord.  Pre-emption rights are essentially a civil matter between landlords and tenants and the legislation provides excellent remedies where pre-emption rights have not been offered.  The purchaser can be forced to sell to the lessees at a price that the purchaser paid.  The purchaser ends up out of pocket for his legal expenses and other expenses of purchase including stamp duty.  That is a disincentive for any purchaser to purchase a property without ensuring that the seller has first offered pre-emption rights.

It is fundamentally wrong to enforce civil remedies with criminal sanctions.  This introduces direct state interference in the relationship of landlord and tenant.  Whereas it is the function of government to regulate such relationships by the introduction of the sort of laws that we see in the earlier sections in this act it is not the function of the state then to directly enforce by criminal sanctions.  The lessees can enforce through the County Court and that is perfectly adequate.

I am not actually aware of any prosecutions under this section which suggests that the section is just unnecessary legislation which can be removed.