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articles > New Pathfinder Legislation
Articles > New Pathfinder Legislation
The government are looking into regulation and licensing for all private sector landlords and some local authorities are running trial schemes in certain areas within their borough. The aim is to reduce anti social behaviour, crime and vandalism; improve housing standards for private tenants; halt area decline and support and train landlords to improve competence.....

This would have many benefits all round, if legislated correctly. Any training to provide an industry standard practice would be welcomed with open arms by any landlord, as long as they benefit from it and are not going to end up out of pocket in order as they comply. The wider community and local business would also feel the benefit in licensed areas as crime, vandalism and anti social behaviour should also be reduced and the area regenerating itself as public pride is restored

There will be a few who will fight any proposed legislation; they will not want to be regulated as they fear that it will impact on their income stream. The sad truth is they are scared of something, be it a failure on their part, or a cost implication. Meanwhile the savvy investor will bite the bullet, spend the cash if necessary and try to stay one step ahead of the game.

New legislation is still being introduced, despite the promise in November 2008 from Iain Wright MP, minister with responsibility for the private-rented sector, who said the Government was committed to not bringing forward knee-jerk legislation that would hamper the growth of the sector but, instead would target the rogue operators which give responsible landlords a bad name. Currently the NLA estimates that there are now 50 Acts of Parliament and over 70 separate sets of regulation affecting landlords with new legislation coming into force all the time. Much of the new law is less than sympathetic to investors, according to David Whitaker, of Mortgages for Business, the buy-to-let broker. He says: “The past 18 months have seen a raft of legislation that ignores the interests of private landlords. We have seen an increase in housing authority pathfinder projects – whereby the Government now pays DSS tenants’ rents directly to the tenant rather than the landlord, as well as the changes in law relating to HMOs.

In 2008 Salford City Council became the first local authority to introduce a selective licensing scheme in the Langworthy and Seedly Regeneration areas. In 2009 Salford City Council also became the first to prosecute a private landlord for failing to obtain a licence required under such a scheme. In addition to a £2500 fine, the landlord faced costs and improvement orders of £20,000 to ensure that the properties were brought up to an acceptable standard.

Many councils are also prosecuting landlords of HMO’s. A Bolton landlord now has a criminal record and has been fined by Salford Magistrates for failing to obtain mandatory licence for a house in multiple occupation. Since July 2006 it has been compulsory for landlords of larger HMO’s to licence their properties and Landlords can be fined up to £20,000 for failure to obtain a mandatory licence. Similar instances have also hit the press around the country and the courts have been far from leinient. His Honour Judge Corrie stressed that “authorities are right to be vigilant concerning such infringements not only in terms of the individual, but also to maintain public confidence, For landlords large and small, there is a need to protect the public, particularly those who rent properties...”.

The message to all landlords is make sure you, your business and your properties are compliant with the law and make sure you keep up with any changes in legislation. In some areas change is necessary and if it requires local initiatives to drive things forward, then we should go with it, embrace it and live in the hope that the changes are not too expensive.

Article supplied by Mike Clarke Property Investor





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