Martha Mackenzie
Martha Mackenzie

By Martha Mackenzie

Remember when we said this wasn’t over?

Following a disappointing Friday, the fight to end revenge eviction is well and truly back on.

A lifeline has appeared in the most unlikely of guises – the Deregulation Bill. This government bill aims to ‘[free] UK businesses from red tape and [make] life easier for ordinary Britons’.

The Liberal Democrats have tabled an amendment to the bill that will make life an awful lot easier for England’s 9 million renters – and the 213,000 of them who faced revenge eviction in the past year.

This amendment mirrors the two most important clauses of the Tenancies (Reform) Bill:

1) Six months protection for victims of revenge eviction. And for renters living in homes so poor, the council has intervened.

2) Key safeguards and exemptions for law-abiding landlords.

While there are other key clauses that we would like to see included, particularly time limits on section 21 eviction notices – so that landlords have to give proper thought to serving a notice, and renters do not have a notice hanging over them from the start of their tenancy, there will be an opportunity to include these when the government and the opposition table their own amendments to the bill.

Despite Friday’s disappointing outcome one thing was clear – the government and the leadership of all the major parties are not only prepared to legislate on this issue, they want to take action now. This amendment provides an opportunity for them to follow through on their promise to renters and secure this change once and for all.

Voicing her frustration at Christopher Chope’s attempts to filibuster the bill Conservative MP Rebecca Harris questioned:

Why does he feel that my constituents who are living in poor rental accommodation and are fearful of asking to get problems addressed should have to wait and wait and wait—in their homes, which should be their castle and their refuge where they feel safe—for what is obviously necessary legislation?’

Well thanks to this amendment – they shouldn’t have to wait much longer.

The Deregulation Bill will return to the House of Lords in mid-January. The government pledged their in principle support to the Tenancies (Reform) Bill on multiple occasions. With this opportunity off the table, the Deregulation Bill presents an obvious route for legislation.

After endorsing the bill – and accepting the need for legislative change – it makes every bit of sense to seize this opportunity. Parliament showed such determination on Friday, they can come together once again to make this happen.

Although we still have a long way to go – an end to revenge eviction is once again in sight. None of this would have been possible without Sarah Teather’s Tenancies (Reform) Bill and the massive reaction it provoked. Renters spoke, and parliament listened.

This fight is far from over. We just hope you’ll join us as we take it in to 2015!

24 Responses to Remember when we said this wasn’t over?

  1. Sharon Salmon says:

    I am currently in a Shared residence of 8 flats, where the landlord has
    totally neglected the property. It breaks all of the rules on being too
    cold. Windows with holes in, damp, water pouring through the bathroom ceilings and so on. The Environmental Health have got involved but is being ignored by the landlord in. He has now evicted one of the tennants after she complained that the damp was making her ill. This has been with Environmental Health for months now and is costing the tax payers money.

    This country is now in a place where more people are desperate and are renting more than ever before and are in danger of landlords such as this.
    I think that it should be a legal and compulsory requirement that rental property’s should be licensed and inspected once a year. This way the landlords would have to keep the property up to proper standards if they wanted to continue renting. And it would not
    fall on the shoulders of the tenants, who for the most part, are too afraid to report the landlords for fear of being evicted and losing their home or being threatened.
    We inspect restaurants, shops, schools, why do the government think that people’s homes are any less important! I hear them saying, “this would cost too much money”, but it would cost a lot less than it is costing right now for Environmental Health to chase landlords up and down the country trying to make them do the right thing. And also, as one Lord that I spoke to recently suggested anonymity, just giving anonymity to the person reporting the landlord would not work because not all properties would be shared, so the landlord would know exactly who it was that reported him.

    We are no longer a nation of people that can afford a mortgage, isnt it about time to bring in a new Bill to protect the majority of people that rent.

    • A Landlord says:

      If the property had issues, then why did you move in?

      Then why go on to smear Landlord such as me, who do the right thing?

      Secondly, a property with such issues, can only be dealt by getting vacant possession of the property to carry out repairs.

      You can’t have people living and breathing building dust.

      Builders are terribly unreliable, they will take on a job, then run off to to do someone else’s job who is paying them more, leaving the landlord & tenant dangling.

      “who for the most part, are too afraid to report the landlords for fear of being evicted”

      This is scaremongering spread by Shelter. Now, more and more Landlords are getting frustrated tenants not reporting issues more promptly, which would have been cheaper to repair.

      “We inspect restaurants, shops, schools”

      Is the tenant a bozo, they cannot determine the property is in good condition or not?

      • Sharon says:

        If you are such a great landlord, why do you worry so much? I know for a fact there are some great landlords out there. I used to have one when I lived in another town. He always took care of the property, when something went wrong it got taken care of within a couple of days. The only reason I left is because I moved jobs. If a landlord is doing what he should be doing, having an inspection would make no difference to them because his property would be as it should be. You are being quite insulting when you don’t know the full story of peoples lives. Especially while hiding your name. The property was in slightly better condition when I moved in. It had been managed by a good managing company and everybody was new moving into this property after the new landlord took over with promises that he would keep everything up to standard and get everything done that needed doing. Instead he let everything go. He has put peoples lives at risk by refusing to fix a boiler where the gas had to be turned off as it was dangerous. There are several people who have no hot water in their kitchen and he wont fix it. Nothing is Pact tested and he had all of the gas fires turned off and replaced with a £20 convector heater, which is this weather is freezing and expensive. I could go on and on. We didn’t even call the environmental health as we were too afraid to lose our homes at that point. And for your information Mr Landlord, I don’t work for Shelter, I can only go by what I have experienced and what people I know have experienced. FACT NOT SCAREMONGERING. There are terrible landlords out there who do treat their tenants badly all for the sake of making money. The environmental health were sent round because of complaints from neighbours that the property was taking down the price of the street. And just to let you know, all of these problems were reported several times to the landlord and he just ignored us. One of the tenants is disabled and has no money to move out. These people are not bozo’s as you put it, just not rich enough or even confidant enough to stand up to this landlord. Like I said when I started this comment, if you are a good landlord and do what is supposed to be done then you should welcome this, if only to allow for people to be treated like human beings and not animals. Instead of being so insulting, why don’t you just prove yourself and help get rid of the bad landlords that you are so worried are giving you a bad name. Because it is them that is giving you a bad name as a landlord, not us or Shelter.

        • A Landlord says:

          I am sorry to hear about the problems. From what you have written. I still maintain, you should move out and find another property.

          “If you are such a great landlord, why do you worry so much?”

          These laws will be open to abuse. A good landlord trying to evict a problem tenant, could be smeared with a bad name. This is something I care about!

          A judge, will side with the tenant,even if they are in the wrong, to stop a tenant been evicted. This is why it is hard to evict a tenant causing anti-social behaviour or damaging the property using a Section 8 eviction, because it is up to the judge’s discretion.

          This is why landlords have to use Section 21 eviction (which is a ‘no fault eviction’). Even though the tenant may be at fault.

          It is one thing to loose an eviction case, but another to be smeared with a bad name.

          The campaign by Shelter, will only drive out good and responsible Landlords. As you have found out your problems only started when your old Landlord sold up and your new Landlord did not keep up obligations.

          ” having an inspection would make no difference to them because his property would be as it should be”

          I don’t mind an inspection, once every 6 years. Ideally, whilst a property is empty and undergoing refurbished. This way it is easy to get a builder, to do the extra jobs which may be necessary.

          However, the inspections should be carried out by Chartered Surveyors (RICS), because you could end up waiting for weeks for a bloke from the council to turn up and weeks to give you a report.

          ” Especially while hiding your name.”

          Given the smear campaign by Shelter. Do you blame Landlords for wishing not to disclose their name?

  2. Good Tenant says:

    The type of landlords that carry out revenge evictions don’t care about the law.
    All this will do will make it even harder for those at the bottom to find a decent landlord that will take them on.
    Great for human rights lawyers renting in Islington.
    Not so good for those on benefits trying to find a private landlord.

  3. @robrobbht says:

    Having been a victim of revenge eviction myself, and having been a community leader in the Home Sweet Home campaign to raise awareness of revenge evictions I was appalled by the filibustering that prevented a vote on the Tenancies Reform Bill. The Deregulation Bill is a much needed new opportunity to legislate against revenge evictions. Changing the law to give concerned tenants and local authorities a framework for action is imperative but like many I have real concerns that local authority cuts will impact on inforcement of any law change.

  4. Coin Lunt says:

    As a former Local Authority Tenancy Relations Officer I came in contact with good landlords and bad landlords (although I am not particularly keen on those terms)

    Some landlords who may have been regarded as “bad” were in fact those who did not know of their responsibilities or did not realise that breaches of standards were regarded as serious matters. Some “good” landlords whose properties may be of a reasonable standard,at the upper end of the market, may become “bad” when they are in a position of being asked to rectify a fault that may costs much more than they expect. I have have had to deal with landlords who are well regarded business men (one was given an award by the local authority just before I prosecuted for illegal eviction as a result of a disrepair)

    After challenging some landlords who may have been initially hostile have later contacted me for advice in following years to make sure that they know that they are acting correctly.

    One of the posters below asked why a tenant had moved into a property that had disrepair issues. Unfortunately some disrepair is not obvious when a property is viewed or when an inventory is created, and may be known to the landlord. This can cause problems for Local Authority staff who get asked to inspect the same property with the same defect year on year; previous tenants having moved, as the poster below suggested. The LA will not regard it as a priority when an existing complainant has moved.

    The purpose of the Bill is to provide a stability period so the tenant is not under threat of notice and will mean the LA can act more effectively. There are safeguards to prevent spurious claims.

    Good landlords can help by suggesting improvements to the clauses that will be advantageous to them as good landlords rather than just saying that the legislation is bad.

    Many court claims for possession against ASB tenants/and or rent arrears that I have been involved in may drag on but that is usually due to real problems with a landlords case preparation.

    If judges are allowing spurious counter claims then they can be reported to the MoJ.

    Landlords, please help prevent bad landlords, giving all landlords a bad name.

    • Glenmorangie says:

      Colin, “The LA will not regard it as a priority when an existing complainant has moved.”

      Then clearly the answer is to make it a priority. Follow up all disrepair complaints whether the complainant has moved on or not. If existing laws need tweaking to allow this, then so be it.

      As usual, LA’s will blame lack of resources but how on earth would they cope if this bill actually did come in?

      The safeguards will not prevent spurious claims.
      They certainly won’t prevent bad tenants from easily manufacturing disrepair.
      Judges won’t know if the claims are spurious or not, they will have to wait for LA’s to investigate and report.

      It would be used by ASB/Rent arrears tenants to prevent eviction. A rogue tenants charter.

      Here are suggestions for improvement.
      1. Find out the true scale of the problem rather than using some made up figure.
      2. Target the bad landlords rather than having a scatter gun approach against all landlords.
      3. Thoroughly think through the (unintended) consequences before making knee jerk legislation.

      • Coin Lunt says:

        Glenmorangie,
        Landlords who wish to obtain possession of their property against tenants who are anti-social or who have amassed rent arrears,have two choices of how to do so. Section 8 and Section 21

        Tenants who wish to defend their home against a landlord who has failed to keep it in good repaIr, have none.

        You suggest that a judge does not know if a place is in disrepair and imply that a landlord will have to wait months perhaps years for the LA to inspect and has no power to do anything about it. A good landlord should be in the privileged position of having full and well maintained property logs that will contain
        1 Full inventory
        2 Any other inspections
        3 Details of any works that have been carried out previously
        4 Contact details that the tenant has been given about any repair needs to show intent on the landlords side
        5 Log of all dealings with the tenant; calls, texts; visits, emails
        6 Attempts to gain entry for repair if any
        7 Details of any contacts with the Council over previous years (eg licensing, training seminars) and at that instance

        A landlord will have all the evidence for a Section 8 claim, even if it had decided not to pursue that route,could be used to defend a spurious S21 deferral application. That is a landlord’s evidence that can be supplied to the court. The judge can consider it Court in response to any complaint by the tenant; it will not just idly wait for something to come from the Council if on balance it is unlikely to do so.

        If a council official has in response to a complaint, made an attempt to inspect but has been unable to do so for reason of the tenants failure, it is likely that they will be able to produce a couple of paragraph standard form letter for the court that they have a had a complaint but have not been able to pursue it. If that were the case, then along with the landlord file, it seems highly likely that a court would not warrant a suspension of the S21.

        A landlord should, if they have been told by the court or tenant that a suspension is being applied for, contact the council and seek to resolve any situation. A council official will not want to keep work on their desk if it can be dealt with quickly. A good landlord dealing with an uncooperative tenant and seeking to resolve a problem with a Council should not be disadvantaged.

        It seems as if you have a unorthodox view of the nature of priority. If every instance of a particular event is attended to, there is not a priority system in place. I assume that you would not want your council tax or business rate increased by 50% in order for a council to follow up all complaints in the same timescales, regardless of seriousness, in the same way that you would not want the police to allocate the same resource to a report of minor criminal damage to that of a murder.

        When a property is no longer occupied, it will logically no longer be a priority.

        Good landlords with effective systems of management in place will not be affected by this minor law change, landlords with poor practices will not be able to come up with hard defence evidence. It is the latter that will be hit.

        Your three point suggestions for improvement are not suggestions at all, in effect they are statements that landlords do not want reform at any price.

        Come up with something practical as a response to the proposals, “We do not want this” is not good enough.

        Glenmorangie; no Talisker or Tomintoul is much nicer

        • Glenmorangie says:

          Colin,

          Section 8 claims are easily defended against, as I am sure you are aware.

          Private landlords, with all your points in place, routinely have their section 8 claims thrown out when faced with a determined tenant.

          Social landlords, aided by councils and with large resources, have all your points firmly in place and their section 8 claims are also frequently thrown out by judges.

          It can take months, perhaps years to evict using section 8.

          This would have exactly the same effect on section 21.

          There is also the issue of tenants manufacturing faults. For example it is very easy to make intermittent faults on a boiler thereby delaying eviction indefinitely.

          All private landlords, good, bad and indifferent would be hit by this major law change- with the corresponding knock on effect to tenants.

          The true scale of the problem has not been assessed. The consequences of the ‘solution’ have not been thought through.

          Landlords saying “We do not want this” have very good reason.

          • Coin Lunt says:

            It is a little difficult to continue debate with one side repeating that the proposals are all wrong, ill thought out, will hurt all landlords, or that private landlord’s Section 8 claims are “routinely” thrown out; or that social landlord claims are “frequently” dismissed without actually providing any evidence for the assertions of those statements, The Ministry of Justice would be pleased to have any evidence that judges are throwing out claims as a routine.

            Besides being as former TRO I am also a former landlord & BB proprietor so I hope I have a wide ambit of knowledge and that I have some evidence.

            I previously made a statement concerning landlord rent claims being adjourned due to poor preparation. I am able to cite the Bright/Waterhouse Report April 2014 (Universities of Hull & Oxford) It should be available on line if you put “Representation in Housing Possession Cases 2014 and their names” into a search facility. Chapter Six concentrates on the problems that judges face when hearing poorly presented private landlord cases.

            You mention that social landlords with all their resources frequently have S8 claims thrown out. Council housing departments have higher thresholds to meet than apply to private landlords and can not be compared as being the same type of claim. The representatives of local authorities who attended the Bright/Waterhouse seminar report did not have any complaints that claims were “frequently thrown out”. If you have any evidence to counter that view then I am sure that the Universities would be pleased to hear from you.

            Any evidence to add to the debate will be useful to ensure that the proposals are effective for landlord & tenant. If however a response will be bare assertions or unsupported beliefs, then further exchange may not be helpful.

          • Glenfiddich says:

            Colin,

    • MdeB says:

      ” This can cause problems for Local Authority staff who get asked to inspect the same property with the same defect year on year; previous tenants having moved, as the poster below suggested. The LA will not regard it as a priority when an existing complainant has moved.”
      This seems to be the real propblem: bad landlords kick out tenants when they complain, and the LA is not interested when the tenant has gone.
      Shelter should be campaigning for LAs to enforce existing laws that would improve rented accommodation. If two tenants have complained and been kicked out, then it should be a high priority for the LA, and ALL properties let by that landlord should be inspected automatically and the inspections charged to the landlord.

      • Coin Lunt says:

        I am sympathetic to your comments but would like to suggest that your terminology of “not interested” is not correct. An LA will still be interested after a tenant has moved, but there are issues that mean that practical follow up is in most cases not possible because the EHO will not be able to gain access to the property by consent as they do not have a legal right of entry if the landlord or tenant does not agree.

        Believe me, Shelter do campaign on these and other issues as I have often been on the other end of a ‘phone when they are arguing on similar matters. In most instances there is little that can be done to stop a landlord operating if there is not a system for closer control, such as licensing. Even then a landlord may pass over management to another person or body for them to obtain the licence. In that situation it may not be possible to refuse to issue, particularly if they appeal to the FT Tribunal.

        An LA does not have any legal power to inspect all properties automatically and no right to charge them.

        The Retaliatory Eviction amendment will be a very small change that can be implemented and will help stabilise communities and will not affect the vast majority of landlords. LAs will work with landlords to prevent spurious claims but it does require the landlords to provide evidence, it will not be enough for them just to say the complaint is spurious.

        • MdeB says:

          “An LA does not have any legal power to inspect all properties automatically and no right to charge them.”
          I understand that, but I am suggesthing that perhaps they should. And also that they should have a right of entry where a complaint of the same defect has been received from two separate tenants within the previous (say) 18 months.

          The problem with the retaliatory evictions proposals is that it allows a BAD tenant to drag things on for months whilst not paying rent because of delays in the legal system that are not currently there for S21 notices. There is nothing in the proposals to protect landlords from such a tenant.

          Unfortunately one bad tenant like this can run up several thousands of pounds of debt before the law eventually evicts them.
          Although the law allows such a tenant to be ordered to repay the debt and some of the legal costs (rarely all) there is often no prospect of the tenant actually paying any of that money.
          It then takes years for the landlord to get back into positive cash flow from the profit from decent tenants. I know; I’ve been there. I was lucky that the unpaid rent, legal fees and damage amounted to only just over £3000, but at a ‘profit’ of £50 per month it was 5 years before I was again in positive cash flow.

          • Coin Lunt says:

            Thanks for the constructive response.
            A person in business, particularly small business is very susceptible to poor payment of bills by other bodies.

            A local authority is constrained by Dept for Local Govt guidelines on enforcement ; it is not allowed to “act like a bull in a china shop” or similar description of high handedness, despite perhaps common misconceptions of the acts of local Councils. Councils have been subject to severe criticism of Tribunals for over zealous actions for example issuing a Prohibition Orders instead of an Improvement Notice or similar.

            In your example of a second complaint within an 18 month period, the council would have been invited in by a new tenant. Costs of enforcement are usually the result of an order of a Magistrates order following a conviction. Again a prosecution and conviction is usually reserved for the most serious of cases and not an ordinary disrepair complaint. In consideration of this discussion I have looked at the powers of access in cases of alleged disrepair in the 2004 Act and they may involve orders by Magistrates and likely where there has been severe delay or obstruction by a landlord. A council invoking a draconian access power will be subject of criticism of Eric Pickles the Conservative Local Govt Secretary amongst others. Unreasonable action can equally apply to tenant and landlord.

            I believe that the proposed legislation along with regulations should protect against an unjust complaint but as I have previously mentioned a good landlord needs to ensure that they can provide evidence to the local authority and the court that a moratorium is not justified. The regulations and Civil Procedure Court rules may include time limits on notices because a court process must be fair to both parties – a court should not allow a council to give an opened time for a decision to be made.

            Just recently in a homelessness/child protection case a Court ordered a Director of Housing to attend court ( a few days later) and explain the lack of action of their department in a case. In the event a decision was made in a couple of days and the Director was not required to attend.

            There can not be a system to ensure that a small business never incurs a loss and a landlord needs to do what they can to prevent delay if a tenant is poor. A good landlord should be able to minimise costs. You did not say if your case was a Section 21 or Section 8 claim.

          • MdeB says:

            “A good landlord should be able to minimise costs.”

            Unfortunately that is not easy if you do not have decent law-abiding tenants.

            If landlord goes to court without legal support, then he is likely to make some administrative mistake that will result in the case being thrown out and the process having to be restarted, giving several further months of non-payment of rent.
            If landlord has legal support, then court is likely to order that only part of the cost is (potentially) recoverably from tenant.

            Then you have the situation where tenants are advised by organisations such as local authorities and Citizen’s Advice not to vacate until the bailiffs arrive. So the landlord has to go back to court to get an order to allow bailiffs to attend (delay for court date, delay to find a slot in the bailiff’s caendar). Arrears mount up; tenants may decide to do more damage to the property, and the landlord has to pay for the bailiffs.

            Mine was a S8 because it was in the fixed term

  5. Arthur Cummins says:

    Is it not now, fact that one cannot sell a house or flat without providing a Surveyor’s Report & being liable to recompense a purchaser for defects discovered soon after exchange of possession? (If not, why not?)
    A simple solution to uninhabitable & seriously inadequate rented accommodation is surely, for Parliament to legislate against the letting of any property that has not been approved by EHO, PACT & HSE who must issue Certificates of Approval before a non-resident landlord can lawfully offer any residential premises for rent.

    Backed by hefty fines &/or prison for offenders, this would immediately ease the caseload of courts dealing with tenant/landlord contention. All ‘homes-to-let’ currently vacant would have to be taken off the market until approvals are obtained. Regettably, this would exacerbate the housing shortage but would urge government action to get more homes built, & even revive the invaluable ‘council house’ culture. Despite the added pressure of increased demand, no-one should be obliged to pay to live in unsuitable premises.

    There should be no accommodation offered, inferior to these required standards. Landlords unable to afford to make their properties lettable, cannot be allowed to profit by exploiting tenants who cannot afford superior accommodation. Their properties could be offered at market value to developers, or compulsorily purchased by LAs for £1.00, whichever owners prefer in light of their particular circumstances &/or local Council Tax liabilities. A limit of 12 months might hasten the return of the property to useful occupation. Capitalists will welcome the invigorating effect of these measures on the market.

    Priority for any democratic government is the welfare of its citizens, including, that everyone is entitled to the agreed norms of its society: security, accommodation, food, health care & education, for all – even if they can’t afford it. (If not, again, why not?) Families with children will need to be fast-tracked & who in government at any level, would not agree with that?

    Anyone aware of British economic history will be aware that in the 19th Century certain MPs & other influential persons argued fiercely to sustain the ‘Rights’ of landowners, landlords & employers to keep men, women & children housed & employed under inhumane conditions. Such persons also supported payment of wages in vouchers that could only be spent in shops owned by the employers,’ for necessary goods often at prices unregulated by compassion, thus creating conditions indistinguishable from slavery.

    Only inheritors of such uncharitable ideas with no comprehension of the economic benefit to the nation of sustaining a happy, healthy populace, might today, argue against making ‘outlaws’ of our ‘Bad Landlords.’ Hopefully, ‘Good Landlords’ will join ‘Good Tenants’ in clamouring for our MPs to exterminate by Law, this affront to common decency. ADC.

    • MdeB says:

      Are you suggesting that there should be 3 inspections and certificates issued before a property can be let?
      If so, then at what frequency?
      Do you think that tenants will be able to/want to afford this?
      If it is needed before every tenancy, then landlords will need to recoup the cost in the first 6 months of the tenancy (because the tenant might leave after that.
      Also, the inspections probably would need to be done on an empty property, because one does not know what damage an existing tenant might do before moving out. That means longer void periods and consequentially higher rents to make up for lost income-periods.

      • Arthur Cummins says:

        Landlords should pay all expenses necessary to qualify their properties for letting. Such properties must be up to a minimum standard for healthy, secure habitation. Otherwise, they should not be letting it. Annual inspections would be ideal but these provisions should result in far less negligence. Lacking any complaints in the preceding 12 months, inspections could be waived for intervals of upto 3 years. After a rectifying complaints, the 3 inspections for approval should be satisfied & followed-up a year later. Cf. selling an unroadworthy car; the vendor should be charged with negligence, not the buyer. Likewise the property owner should maintain his premises & not be allowed to let property that is unfit for healthy living. If not, why not?

        • MdeB says:

          Ultimately the cost of regulation falls on the
          consumer.

          I agree that property that is not fit for living should not be allowed to be
          let. The problem is how to achieve it without significant cost (ultimately to
          tenants).

          The major problem is enforcement, not regulations/legislation.

          It seems (from what I have read) that it can take years for enforcement action
          to be taken to the point where a landlord has to conform or face the legal
          system. That is ridiculous. And for all that time the landlord is getting money
          from vulnerable tenants.

          Without effective and timely enforcement, all that will happen is:
          1) good landlords will comply;
          2) good landlords will put up rents to cover the
          cost of compliance;
          3) bad landlords will continue to let substandard
          properties;
          4) bad landlords will put up their rents to track
          the increase in their area.

          Personally I am in favour of a national register of let properties and
          landlords, but not local schemes. That would give common requirements in all
          areas a landlord has property and would allow transgressions in one local
          authority area to trigger investigations into his property elsewhere.

      • Arthur Cummins says:

        Added to my reply below; Tenants should be legally bound to allow the landlord &/or his surveyor to make a thorough examination of the property before vacating. Any damage is the tenant’s responsibility & is legally enforceable, since s/he should have signed that the premises were satisfactory when accepting the keys. Dishonesty & neglect by either party should be penalized in Law, as a deterrent. In this computer age, that should be easily achieved. The 3 inspections would not need to be re-done for every new tenancy if there have been no issues during the last tenant’s residence, except if the maximum 3 year-interval since the last inspections has expired. My ideal is to stimulate concientious responsibility in both landlord & tenant to reduce the unfortunate culture of animosity that so often sours relations between mutually dependant parties who could be on good terms simply by each doing their best for each other. More cooperative, less competitive; the keys to happier households for all,

        • MdeB says:

          “s/he should have signed that the premises were satisfactory when accepting the keys”.

          Unfortunately, many people in big cities are in the position of needing somewhere to live and will take almost anything. These people cannot afford the costs of moving frequently so will not complain and will take a place in poor repair.

          “Any damage is the tenant’s responsibility & is legally enforceable”

          Whilst it may be legally enforceable, if a tenant has no assets and little income, there is little prospect of a landlord recovering his costs. The only penalty that is likely to deter such people is a criminal penalty, not a civil one.

          ” My ideal is to stimulate concientious responsibility in both landlord & tenant”

          My experience is that most tenants and landlords are decent people who cause each other no problems.

          What we need to do is find a way to get to those other tenants and landlords without placing an unreasonable burden on the good landlords and tenants.

        • MdeB says:

          “Tenants should be legally bound to allow the landlord &/or his surveyor to make a thorough examination of the property before vacating”.

          Even if this were the case, landlords would have no way of knowing what a tenant has done between the inspection and vacating. The only way a landlord can know for certain that a disgruntled tenant has not left some nasty surprises (and hence aviod legal consequences) is to have the assessment done when the property is empty.