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Budget “a nightmare in the making” says landlords

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Today’s budget represents a nightmare for tenants and landlords alike. A failure to extend support for energy improvements in private rented housing and measures to allow subletting will cause uncertainty and anger claims the Residential Landlords Association…

Today’s budget represents a nightmare for tenants and landlords alike. A failure to extend support for energy improvements in private rented housing and measures to allow subletting will cause uncertainty and anger claims the Residential Landlords Association.

Energy and landlord organisations had called upon the Chancellor to extend the Landlord’s Energy Savings Allowance which is due to end next month. The allowance has played a key role in supporting landlords to invest in improving the energy efficiency of their properties.

The failure to continue the allowance means improvements will now only be financed on the back of tenants through their energy bills as contained within the Green Deal.

Commenting, RLA Chairman, Alan Ward said:

“It is disappointing that Ministers have failed to listen to campaigners on this issue.

“Ministers have talked the talk on improving the energy efficiency of the nation’s rented housing stock but today they have pulled the rug from under the feet of landlords and tenants.”

The Budget also outlines plans to make it illegal for private sector tenancy agreements to include clauses that prevent the sub-letting of the property.

Alan Ward continued:

“The measures on sub-letting are a nightmare in the making and smack of ‘back of the fag packet’ policy making.

“Key questions remained unanswered such as who will be responsible for a property if the tenant sub-letting leaves the house but the tenant they are sub-letting to stays?

“Similarly, given the Government wants landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants, who would be responsible for checking the status where sub-letting occurs?

“Whilst the RLA awaits further detail on this measure, it is difficult to see landlords supporting it.”

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About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Media and Communications Officer for the RLA. With 16 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and editorial content for our media partners.

She issues press releases promoting the work of the RLA and its policies and campaigns to the regional and national media and works alongside the marketing team on the association’s social media channels to build support for the RLA and its work.

13 Comments

  • Horrified to read about plans to change subletting rules. What on earth is the reason behind this? It’s hard enough coping with a bad tenant who passed the process and has signed the contract but how do we enforce good practice with tenants we haven’t approved! Madness!

  • I SEE THIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR BAD TENANTS TO MOVE INTO A RENTED PROPERTY USING THE SUBLETTING ROUTE. NOT GOOD FOR LANDLORDS IF WE LOSE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE WHO CAN LIVE IN OUR PROPERTIES. AS LANDLORDS, WE HAVE TO BE ONE STEP AHEAD OF ROGUE TENANTS, WHY CAN THE GOVERNMENT NOT SEE THAT THIS WILL JUST CAUSE MORE LANDLORDS TO PULL OUT OF THE MARKET PLACE. THERE’S PLENTY OF GOOD LANDLORDS SUPPORTING GOOD TENANTS BUT POLITICIANS NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE REAL WORLD AND SEE THAT WE NEED PROTECTION FROM THOSE TENANTS WHO REALLY DON’T CARE ABOUT TRASHING HOUSES AND LEAVING A STRING OF DEBTS BEHIND THEM. WE NEED EXTRA SUPPORT FOR THOSE SITUATIONS, NOT AN EASIER ROUTE FOR THEM!

  • If this happens then what is the point of having a tenancy agreement at all ?
    The tenant signs the agreement then next thing is we have a house full of people we didn’t check out! Just does not make sense. Oh this is open to so much abuse.

  • This is likely to make insurance more expensive and difficult to get. My insurance is based on accepting only professional tenants.

  • There is also the problem of some buy to let mortgages, which state that you can only let the property to working people. Where would that leave us, if people sub letting are not working and then end up as the tenant? Who picks up the tab when the lender decides you can no longer have a mortgage?

  • Why do MP’s live in a world unknown to us and see good in everyone? As we all know all tenants are honest and good members of society proven by the fact that since the introduction of housing benefits being paid directly to the tenant they have all without fail passed it on to the landlord!!! Now we are expected to accommodate people with no tenancy agreement to do as they wish with our property without having to answer to anyone. Is this an easy way of reducing the shortage of housing without any risk to local councils or housing associations looks like it to me .

    • Your sarcasm is lost in print, my friend, and could actually be used as proof that Universal Credit is a good thing.
      You’re right about it being an easy way to reduce housing shortages when PRS landlords refuse to accommodate UC tenants while there’s not enough social housing for them.

  • May be regs can be drafted to say only sub tenants who have passed the same referencing process as the main tenants.

    Contact your ME before 30th March when Parliament is dissolved. May be RLA can do the same.

    If the government want responsible landlords may be they will accept we only want acceptable tenants.

    May be our ASTS and the deposit scheme rules/interpretation can require parties to ASTS to be fully responsible for their sublet

  • If the paragraph in the tenancy agreement regarding no subletting becomes illegal then I may leave my property empty in future.( My tenants have recently gone back to Poland to live). Better than having nightmare tenants.
    I can’t believe that any member of government has come up with this idea, it just defies belief! I thought those of us who let property “unfurnished” had already had a raw deal now we can no longer claim tax relief on all the items we include in our properties, such as carpets, white goods, curtains. The washing machine in the property I rent out is coming to the end of it’s life. I am now considering no longer replacing it, but letting any future tenants buy their own. My recent tenants stained a carpet slightly in two places, I would at one time have considered replacing it but not now. All the money I have made from the property since I started letting it out 12 years ago has gone back into the property, I take no wage for all the work I do. Those of us who rent out here in Wales may also face more expense having to go on courses under new regulations to come in from the Welsh Assembly, also will have to pay a fee to be registered. I haven’t put the rent up for over 3 years, so it will now take me longer to save up for the UPVC window frames and doors I wish to have installed eventually in the property, for which there will then no longer be an allowance.
    For those of us who obey all the rules and are good landlords, e.g. I get my gas safety certificate and boiler service every year, P.A.T. testing every few years, have R.C.D.s installed, fire extinguisher, fire blanket, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide tester etc etc, we just get more and more penalised.

  • I don’t think this is really a nightmare.

    A lodger is not necessarily the same thing as a subtenant. A subtenancy only exists if the occupier has exclusive possession of any part of the accommodation, so a tenant who takes in a lodger is not necessarily breaching their tenancy(if subletting is prohibited or requires consent which hasnt been given) anyway.

    The proposal at present is only applicable to fixed terms, and an absolute prohibition would potentially already be an unfair term under the CMA guidance on unfair terms in tenancy agreements.

    And … how many landlord’s would seek to rely on a discretionary breach of tenancy ground, where the tenancy condition is a potentially unfair term, if seeking to evict a tenant for subletting anyway? They’d use s.21, and will probably continue to do so if these changes are introduced.

    If the mesne tenant leaves and the subtenant is left in occupation, then the mesne tenant has lost their security of tenure and the tenancy can be ended by a simple notice to quit followed by application for possession – the subtenancy will fall. The mesne tenant will be responsible for damage – it will be up to them if they want to try and pursue their subtenant.

  • The Budget 2015 page 51 states.
    “the government will make it easier for individuals to sub-let a room through its intention to legislate to prevent the use of clauses in private fixed-term residential tenancy agreements that expressly rule out sub-letting or otherwise sharing space on a short-term basis, and CONSIDER EXTENDING this prohibition to statutory periodic tenancies”
    This probably means that they will surreptitiously release this extension and if so I believe many responsible landlords will consider this is a bridge too far and pull out of the rental market. The the only losers will be the PRS because as rental properties become scarce rents will rise.
    The answer is, in my opinion, for the govt to make buying properties to rent more attractive so the numbers increase and then rents will stabilise or come down.

    Yet another own goal for politicians who have far too much authority and no responsibility.

    I was thinking of buying a property to let as an investment, but having all my rights removed I may now invest elsewhere.

  • First of all I can’t see how this policy would ever be adopted without disrupting other responsibilities that Landlords are currently liable for, i.e.
    Anti social behaviour
    Overcrowding/HMO status
    Housing illegal immigrants
    Arranging Inspections
    Insurance compliance obligations
    Mortgage compliance obligations
    ….and I’m sure that there are many
    However the biggest concern that I can see, is the this governments appetite to even
    consider socialist type policies!

    however,

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