Tenants may soon be able to sue their landlords

Tenants to sue landlords over substandard properties!

Yes, that’s right. Last week MPs voted in favour of a Bill that could give tenants the ability to sue landlords over poor housing conditions.

The Government supports The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill and MPs voted unanimously to pass it. It now moves to the Committee stage, where a detailed examination of its obligations takes place.

The details as known

Housing reform If made law, the Bill would amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to require that residential rented accommodation is provided and maintained in a state of “fitness for human habitation”. The Bill extends to England and Wales but will only apply to tenancies in England.

Why is the Bill necessary?

An outdated legal framework

The law at the moment relating to health and safety in people’s homes is widely regarded as piecemeal, out-dated and complex.

The current legislation under section 8 of the 1985 Landlord and Tenant Act requires most landlords to keep their properties in good repair, including the supply of water, heating and sanitation. But annual rent limits (£52 or less, and £80 or less in London) means that for most tenants, the provisions of section 8 don’t apply.

Increasing concern about standards 

poor housing

A survey in 2015/16 found that the private rented sector has the highest proportion of homes (40%) in England that have at least one indicator of poor housing conditions. What’s more, 28% of privately rented properties failed the decent home standard in 2015.

In July last year, I blogged about the rise in retaliatory evictions by landlords, following requests by private tenants for repairs to be carried out.  This, combined with a lack of resources (be it lack of legal aid, private finance or the wherewithal of how to go about it) makes it very difficult for some tenants to insist on basic improvements to their living conditions.

It makes for a bleak picture for tenants in some areas of the country. But whilst unsuccessful attempts to amend the current legislation have been made a number of times recently,  the devastating events at Grenfell Tower last year, have rightly brought the issue of housing firmly back into the spotlight.

What’s your view?

Of course, full details of what may eventually become law aren’t known. But the Residential Association of Landlords (RLA), National Association of Landlords (NLA) and Shelter have expressed support for the Bill.

As do many landlords. After all, a lot of landlords provide perfectly suitable and well maintained rental properties and the Bill does nothing more than state what they are doing already.

Housing reform However, in November last year you will recall I wrote about the rise in spurious claims by tenants against their landlords and there will always be an element of concern that for those with such intent, this is one more weapon to beat their landlords with.

Overall, however, my view is that this reform is a force for good. Anything that clarifies and simplifies the current legislation should be embraced and to be a successful landlord, you should always be trying to maintain high standards for your tenants.

I’ll keep you posted on any amendments and on the Bill’s progress through Parliament but if you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch or leave a comment.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi-award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

 

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10+ reasons to move to Dorking!

10+ reasons to move to Dorking!

Why move to Dorking?

Happy New Year! Here’s hoping 2018 will be a prosperous and successful one!

But there’s no escaping the general feeling of gloom and doom in January. The twinkly lights and festive spirit are gone, the weather is, well, mainly cold, wet and grey and it feels like a long time until spring.

Add to that the news that as rail fares go up yet again, there’s set to be more strike action in some areas of the country.  It’s all enough to drive you into hibernation until well after the daffodils are out.

But I’m looking on the bright side

Because let’s face it, there is lots to love about living in the Dorking area. We’ve got some incredible countryside right on our doorstep which is perfect for some stunning winter walks. Or you can head into town for a browse of the antique shops or a bite to eat in one of the many quaint little cafés or restaurants.

I’m not the only one who thinks Dorking is a great place to live

Surrey Hills

At the end of last year, estate agent Jackson-Stops revealed its top commuter hotspots based on considerations such as house prices, annual house price growth, train reliability and speed of journey.

And guess what? Dorking game second! Ok, I’d have liked it to come first but second is pretty impressive when you consider some of the competition from the home counties and the south-east corner.

What’s more, Luton in Bedfordshire came first, notwithstanding the fact that last year Reddit users voted it the ‘worst place to live in the UK’!

Now I don’t know Luton that well but I do know Dorking. I know that over the years, it’s won lots of awards, and often been voted one of the best places to live. Even on the gloomiest January day, it’s still a pretty and attractive market town with a thriving and vibrant community and if you’re thinking of moving out of London, you couldn’t do much better than moving to Dorking.

Still not convinced?

10+ great reasons to move to Dorking:

  1. The North Downs and the Surrey Hills (a designated area of outstanding natural beauty which includes Leith Hill, Box Hill, Colley Hill, Holmbury Hill and Newlands Corner) are right on your doorstep for you to enjoy.
  2. Because of its situation, Dorking is a great base if you’re a keen cyclist, runner, hiker or walker.
  3. For commuters, there are no fewer than 3 railway stations, with regular trains to London and the south as well as cross-country links to Guildford, Reigate and Reading. The journey time to central London is just 25 mins and nearby Guildford is a thriving and busy town with a University, large hospital and cathedral!
  4. And if it’s foreign travel you enjoy, you’re only a short distance from the M25 and links to Gatwick and Heathrow.
  5. Dorking even has its own vineyard, the very successful and award-winning Denbies Wine Estate, where you can enjoy wine tasting and tours!
  6. Unemployment in Dorking is lower than both the Surrey and national averages with the number in receipt of working benefits 10% lower than the national average. But during the 2011 census, the residents of Dorking rated their health “very good” which is higher than the national average.
  7. Dorking Dorking is an historic town, with a network of underground caves, attractive architecture and a traditional market.
  8. And if it’s a night out on the town you’re after, Dorking has a cinema, theatre and arts centre as well as lots going on.
  9. According to Zoopla house prices in Dorking rose between January 2017 and 2018 by nearly 3.43% although according to RightMove, “Dorking, with an overall average price of £498,742 was cheaper than nearby Brockham (£610,500), Westcott (£639,864) and Betchworth (£738,000).”
  10. And if you’d love to move here but don’t think you stand a chance, there are a number of new developments within the Dorking area with houses, flats and apartments for sale.
    So, if you already live in Dorking, that’s great news. It really is a lot nicer than Luton, isn’t it? And if you don’t live here, but would like to, why not come and spend some time here this January and discover the many delights Dorking has to offer!

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi-award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 or via email to dorking@ewemove.com