Landlord Law Newsround #302

Landlord Law Blog NewsroundAnother week and another Newsround, let’s see what has been happening in the housing news this week.

Bank base interest rates now 5.25%

Many will be feeling despair at the further bank base rate rise, which will almost certainly trigger further mortgage payment increases.

Ben Beadle CEO of the National Residential Landlords has warned that the average increase in monthly repayments on buy-to-let mortgages by the end of 2025 will be about £275.

However, as some landlords have seen their mortgage payments increase by almost 240% since December, this will leave them little scope to do anything other than increase rents.  However much they want to protect their tenants.

If you own your properties outright though, you may not be too fussed, particularly if you have savings.  Although, hopefully, savings rates will start to go up soon – the current low interest rates on many savings accounts is shocking.

Mind you a guest author on Property118 asks whether another interest rate is really bad for landlords, and points out various opportunities, including increased demand and the opportunity to put up rents.

And it seems that Generation Rent have admitted that there has been no rent rise for 40% of tenants.  Not sure how long that statistic will last though.

Heat Pumps?

If you are considering installing heat pumps at your tenant’s property, you may be interested in this BBC program.  This features a property where a new heat pump system is being installed, which cost the householders £18,000!  Not something your average person has in their back pocket.  The government’s £5K grant does not go far with this sort of cost.

There is a commentary on Property118 here.

However, a survey from Landbay claims that many landlords, particularly those whose properties have an EPC rating of D, still plan to press ahead and make changes to reach a C as soon as possible.   It also says that 78% of landlords are aware of the government’s plans.

However, those plans seem to be taking more of a back seat now, with Gove having indicated that he will be giving landlords more time.    This follows their byelection will in Uxbridge and the subsequent flurry of activity to backtrack on environmental promises – which they seem to think will please the electorate.

It may also be due to the government’s increasing awareness of the supply problem with so many landlords selling up.  Press landlords too far and the private rented sector will collapse.

New free court service for tenants facing eviction

This is the Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service. This will provide

  • Early legal advice (legal help) on housing, debt and welfare benefits issues to those at risk of possession proceedings and loss of their home; and
  • On the day emergency advice and representation at court to those with a listed possession hearing

Individuals using the service will not need to meet legal aid financial eligibility rules (as it is a free service) but will need evidence that they are at risk of losing their home.  A list of providers can be found via this page.

However, doubt has been cast on the scheme due to the lack of suitable solicitors to provide the advice.

Lubna Shuja, President of the Law Society of England and Wales has welcomed the scheme, saying that the benefit of early advice cannot be underestimated.  But going on to say

However, we have continuing concerns as to whether the system will be effective, and about the increasing legal aid advice deserts caused by long-term underfunding of the system.

The scheme is provided by solicitors and therefore contingent on the number of solicitors able to do the work. With rising legal aid advice deserts, there are fewer and fewer legal aid practitioners able to give legal advice.

Those facing eviction will not be able to access vital legal advice if there is no legal advice provider in their area.

The legal advice deserts are the result of systematic cuts in legal aid and legal aid rates to solicitors, making it virtually uneconomic for many firms to offer this service.  I have been writing about this for years, for example, this post in 2011 and this post in 2006.

Looking at the list of providers, I see that it is mostly Shelter offices, Law Centres and CABx, with a few solicitors.  The scheme will no doubt provide a useful extra income for those services and may render some Law Centres sufficiently viable to be able to stay around for longer (many have had to close shop).

However, bearing in mind the number of tenants needing advice, the services listed are almost certainly not going to be sufficient.

If the government is serious about providing legal help to tenants, then it will have to make it economically viable for lawyers to do the work.  There will then need to be a lot of training done as most solicitors, even if they want to do this work, are not sufficiently experienced.

Most of the experienced housing solicitors have long gone – either into retirement or pastures new.  With a few honourable exceptions.

Will it make evictions too costly for landlords?

Several of the news items seem to be criticising this new service because it is going to make it more costly for landlords to evict tenants.  However, I am afraid I have little sympathy with this – landlords should take care to ensure that they are operating within the law and prepare their case properly.

There is plenty of help, either via my Landlord guide or via the NRLA, and if they are uncertain, they should use solicitors.  Making someone homeless is a very serious thing and landlords should be held to account if they fail to comply with the rules.

If you are a tenant facing eviction, this article may be helpful for you.


Landlord prosecuted for second time after failing to disclose maintenance costs
Surge in tenants wanting to buy properties off landlords
Unusual legal win by landlord shows appealing council fines can be worth it
Controversial MP to champion landlord concerns in Parliament
Is it fair that councils can fine landlords even though they too break the law?
Landlord to pay tenants £12,500 because ‘innocence of law is no defence’

Newsround will be back next week.

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