Social Housing Ombudsman to take on PRS disputes
Government minister Jacob Young has confirmed that going forward, disputes between private landlords and tenants will be dealt with by the existing Social Housing Ombudsman Service.
Landlords will be required to join its service and pay a fee. Tenants will then be able to raise any complaint about their landlord to the PRS Ombudsman for free, if they are unhappy with the way in which their issue is being dealt with by their landlord.
This will mean that there will be two redress routes open to tenants, those who are managed via an agent can go to either the Property Redress Scheme or The Property Ombudsman, and the new service will mediate directly between the tenant and the landlord.
A spokesperson from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities says
We intend for our Ombudsman Service to complement the existing housing redress landscape. This will ensure that tenants, regardless of whether they rent socially or privately, have high-quality, consistent access to redress where they have a legitimate complaint about their home.
This will significantly increase the Housing Ombudsman Service workload with some 4.6 million new tenants. It states that it will only deal with the more complicated cases and not low-level issues such as broken windows or leaky taps. Some other industry leaders disagree with this statement.
Jacob Young who is a junior minister within the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has also defended the government’s decision to reform the courts before they abolish section 21 saying that it is essential and not a delaying tactic.
Government denys court reforms is an intentional delay
Jacob Young has stated this week to a group of MPs scrutinising the Renters Reform Bill that they need to get the ‘system ready’ before they abolish system 21. He said
Court rules and systems need updating to reflect the new law; there is no way that this can be avoided. Furthermore, we have already fully committed to a digital system that will make the court process more efficient and fit for the modern age.
He further adds
We are also working to tackle concerns about bailiff delays, including by providing for automated payments for debtors. That will reduce the need for doorstep visits, so that bailiffs can prioritise possession enforcement.
Furthermore, he states that there are 2.4m landlords who have concerns over the court system and that the implementation would have to be phased. He pointed out that to ignore these concerns would be ‘unwise’.
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Older renters downsize and move to cheaper areas
According to a new BBC News report, Renters over 30 are moving to cheaper areas as rents increase and the supply of properties dwindles.
The report claims that almost half of all new tenancies in this age bracket who earn between £30,000 and £70,000 were for one or two-bed homes. This compares to 57% back in the 2020 lockdown period, where they were taking on three-bedroom homes.
Sandra Jones, managing director of Dataloft, says this is due to the severe shortage of homes that has now driven up rents. Their report shows that between the ages of 30 and 39 only one-fifth would move to a higher-priced area, while more than a quarter would move cheaper.
Greg Tsuman, president of ARLA Propertymark, says
Fundamentally, the problem is that landlords are exiting the market when demand for rental properties continues to rise.
Percentage rent increases keep rising
Rents have soared by more than a quarter since the start of Covid and continue to rise according to analysis by Savills, the estate and lettings agents. The average private rent will by 9.5% higher than in December 2022 by the end of this year with a further rise of 6% in 2024 which will be stretching the affordability area for many renters.
The demand for property has been blamed on demand outstripping supply along with the cost of borrowing, with 14 consecutive interest rate rises which has caused landlords to increase their rents. Competition is harsh with many tenants vying for just one property and willing to pay over the market rent for the property and some landlords even asking for a years rent upfront.
Emily Williams from Savills says
Competition for stock is tough, and tenants are having to bid upwards to secure a tenancy, supported – but only in part – by a strong growth in incomes, fuelling rents upwards in the short to medium term. It’s very difficult to see where an increase in rental supply will come from in the next couple of years.
Tenant abandonment – what is it?
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London borough HMO licensing scheme goes out to consultation
Landlords warned they must ensure property ads are accurate
Newsround will be back next week.
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