Landlords: Could you afford a court case brought by your tenant?
In these times of Litigation. “Can I get some money out of it”?
Do we need to be covered
The New Year has brought with it a raft of new lettings legislation – All of which could hit landlords in the pocket.
We are urging landlords to ask themselves if they could afford the cost of a court case brought by their tenant under proposed new laws? Or, have they every considered taking out insurance covering their legal costs?
The government, last week agreed to support a ‘Private Members Bill’ from Labour MP Karen Buck. Allowing tenants to sue their landlords if they fail to ensure their homes are fit for human habitation.
Buck’s bill proposes amending the 1985 Landlord and Tenant Act to require residential rented accommodation to be provided and maintained in a state of fitness for human habitation. It will enable tenants to take their landlords to court if they fail to do so and will apply to all tenancies under seven years old.
Communities secretary Sajid Javid, recently given overall control of housing policy as part of the cabinet reshuffle, has announced that the bill has the government’s backing.
He said: “Public safety is paramount, and I am determined to do everything possible to protect tenants. That is why government will support new legislation that requires all landlords to ensure properties are safe and give tenants the right to take legal action if landlords fail in their duties.”
Labour MP Phil Wilson also last week introduced a ‘Private Members Bill’ requiring all private landlords in England be registered. This is an attempt to make it easier for the authorities to track down the owners of properties in a dangerous condition or associated with anti-social behaviour.
In his speech outlining the bill, Mr Wilson announced that the registration scheme would be “Administered by local authorities and funded by private landlords”.
The Bill passed its first reading and will come before parliament again this April.
With government support, Karen Buck’s bill could be law by this time next year. With legislation like this in the offing all landlords and letting agents should be insuring themselves against this additional litigation risk, it is to late once a case is brought.
It’s another example of the false sense of security offered by tenancy deposits. A single month’s rent is supposed to protect landlords from unpaid rent, property damage and legal costs. But it never can – So given that deposit demands make it harder to find and keep good tenants, why bother with them at all?
Councils already have wide-ranging powers under the 2004 Housing Act to take action against privately rented properties in an unacceptable condition so why do we need more?
Research has revealed that just one rogue landlord has been convicted in the last three years as a result of a case brought by a Tyne and Wear local authority, despite tenants making close to 6500 complaints.
But the main concerning issues here is the main point isn’t giving more powers to Councils but to tenants and given that it’s a quick buck $$$ issue, we all need to be covered.
If you join us on a 24-month contract we will offer full deposit, rent and legal insurance cover for FREE.
Thank you for reading, Don.