The Housing and Planning Bill is currently passing through the House of Lords. The Conservative government is hoping to tackle the housing crisis with this Bill by “kick-starting a national crusade to get 1 million homes built by 2020”. The Bill is not without its critics, including Jeremy Corbyn who led a mass demonstration against it in London last month. Criticisms of the Bill include:
– an introduction of market rents and a possible end to subsidised rents for low income tenants;
– the obligation on landlords to check the immigration status of tenants may lead to risk averse landlords refusing to rent to migrant workers; and
– new tenants will no longer be entitled to lifetime tenancies in council homes.
This post is focused on Part 3 of the Bill. Clauses 49-59 provide for an entirely new process for the recovery of abandoned properties by landlords without the need for a court order.
In summary a private landlord may give a tenant notice which brings the tenancy to an end on that day, if the tenancy relates to premises in England and certain pre-conditions are met. These are:
• a certain amount of rent is unpaid (two consecutive months where rent is payable monthly);
• that the landlord has given 3 warning notices at different times in accordance with clause 57; and
• and that neither the tenant or a named occupier has responded in writing to any of the warning notices prior to their expiry dates.
This process has caused concern in some quarters that unscrupulous landlords will take the opportunity to carry our unlawful evictions and attempt to disguise them as abandonment.