The Tenant Services Authority has announced plans to introduce a new “regulatory framework for social housing”, which details the standards required of landlords.
This new approach to regulation, which will come into force from next April, will see greater emphasis placed on the relationship between landlords and their tenants at a local level – one where tenants are at the heart of shaping, influencing and monitoring the services they receive.
It will mean a greater responsibility for landlords to work closely with tenants to drive improvements and make them more accountable for the services they provide.
Landlords that fail to comply with the new rules could face large fines or lose the property management rights to another organisation.
Housing Minister John Healey says this “bill of rights” will have “real teeth” and enforce landlords to get repairs right first time, stop antisocial behaviour and make sure tenants have a say in the management of the property.
However whilst Graham Kinnear, managing director of Landlord Assist, believes that all landlords should be accountable for the services they provide, he is concerned that an increase in bureaucracy will deter entrants to the market and increase the costs that landlords face in terms of compliance.
He said: “Already there are clear anomalies in the way that landlord and tenant law works. Examples include the fact that a tenant needs to give one month’s notice to vacate the property yet the landlord is obliged to give the tenant two months’ notice. Landlords are also prohibited from evicting a tenant without a court order even though they may be out of pocket due to a tenant ceasing to pay the rent.
“Rafts of policy and legislation, which require the landlord to do even more than currently required are, in our view, unnecessary and may well discourage landlords from entering the market, thereby reducing the choice and quality of rental accommodation available.”