Landlord Law Newsround #299


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

Transportable gardens

A top garden designer, Zoe Claymore, has come up with the novel idea of a ‘portable garden‘ for renters which has the benefit of both helping wildlife flourish, and having items in the garden that can be moved from home to home, much the same as renters do with their internal furniture.

She says about her garden design for tenants

In this garden, everything can go with you when you move. For the landlord, it should be the same as a tenant buying their own furniture – you’re buying a bed to sleep in, why not buy a raised bed for plants in the garden? You’re getting a storage bin for inside, why not for outside? You get a sofa, you can buy an outdoor bench, that sort of thing.

She challenges landlords that if a rented house comes fully furnished, why shouldn’t the garden? Landlords can provide compost bins and garden tools. Craig Bennett chief executive of the Wildlife Trust agrees and says

Of course landlords should make it possible for their tenants to garden. One in three households rent in this country, how can we deny them the ability to garden? If you’re a landlord, let them garden – it’s that simple. And the more that people can do it in a wildlife friendly way, they’re making a huge contribution to society in the process.

What are your thoughts, do you let your tenants design their own garden space?

Delay in the Renters Reform Bill

As the summer recess looms and brings The House of Commons closer to shutting up shop on the 20th July, this means that the second reading of the Renters Reform Bill will now be put back until the Autumn, and it feels like little progress has been made.

In fact, Housing Minister Rachel Maclean has now admitted that the new bill is unlikely to make it through parliament until much later this year. The only update released is that the proposed Private Rental Sector Ombudsman may be a combined agent/tenant/landlord non-profit body. Her hands are tied, she claims, by the parliamentary business managers who decide how and when bills pass through parliament.

Neil Cobbold the Managing Director of  PayProp UK is keen to promote feedback during the summer, saying

With the Bill not getting its second reading until at least September, this gives the summer to get organised and share views with MPs.

We’ve already seen the government make changes based on feedback from the industry, so the more voices we have, the better the chance lettings professionals will be consulted on this bill and future changes to the industry.

Gove slammed for returning £1.9bn to the Treasury

It appears that The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is handing back £1.9bn to the Treasury some of which was budgeted for 2022-2023 to fund new affordable housing and improve building safety. They were, they say, unable to spend the money due to rising interest rates and housing market uncertainty following covid.

Experts fear this will only make the housing crisis much worse with no investment and fewer houses being built, with the government target for councils to build 300,000 new homes a year, now a voluntary target. The DLUHC says they remain ‘committed to funding and delivering including their affordable homes programmes’. However, Lisa Nandy, the shadow housing secretary says

Not content with slashing housebuilding by scrapping housing targets, stalling on renters’ reform or rowing back on their promises to leaseholders, ministers are either too incompetent or too out-of-touch to consider it a priority to fix dangerous buildings or build new affordable homes in the middle of a housing crisis.

The Help to Buy Scheme set up by George Osborne in 2013 has now ended and the government says that demand for these sort of loans is now smaller than expected in part due to the pandemic. The government says

These are multi-year funding programmes that are being spent flexibly – meaning some money can be moved into future years depending on demand and the wider economic climate.

However, experts fear that once the money has gone back to the Treasury, it will be lost to the housing budget.

New housing commission to look into impact of Airbnbs & short lets

As the housing shortage shows no signs of letting up, a new housing commission consisting of expert councillors and parliamentarians has been tasked with looking into the impact of Airbnb and short lets and how best to approach homelessness.

Lord Richard Best, chair of The Devon Housing Commission, says

By bringing together those with a major role across the county the commission will be a powerful voice for the importance of good quality housing for health and the economy. The commission will allow us to fully understand the origins of current pressures and look for innovative solutions from collective local action or significant policy change.

The commission, which is being funded by the University of Exeter and local authorities across Devon, Plymouth, and Torbay will ask the opinions of communities in Devon to help build a case that will be presented to government.

Landlords reassured due to impending eviction changes

Landlords have been told that judges will have a wider jurisdiction when considering anti-social behaviours in cases brought before them. Guy Horsington, DLUHC deputy director, has explained

We’ve heard that landlords find it hard sometimes to evidence anti-social behaviour and therefore by making the change we said we would – to expand it so that it brings in a wider set of behaviours – while maintaining judicial discretion, that should help landlords who are genuinely trying to deal with a problem tenant.

He further added

We are taking measures to help landlords prove genuine anti-social behaviour that is discretionary, and we’re also maintaining our mandatory ASB grounds when there has been a proven criminal offence.

Rachael Maclean, Housing Minister, has also said that the DLUHC department would provide guidance for the justice system whereby the judge can make an informed decision.


House hunters stunned after discovering cannabis farm hidden in property
Kerching! Five tenants pocket £29,000 after landlord fails to licence HMO
Government must reverse benefits freeze
Labour WARNED over claim that ‘most renters live in homes owned via mortgages’
Landlord mortgage arrears outstrip home owners’ as costs squeeze profitability
Horrendous overcrowding at dilapidated HMO leads to £17,000 fine for landlord
Rents soar as agents report rising tenant demand but landlord slump

Newsround will be back next week.

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