Summer Newsletter: Market Conditions, Tenant Fee Ban and Possession Proceedings
Summer is FINALLY here!
After a fairly soggy June the sun seems to finally have put his hat on so we hope that wherever you are in the World you are enjoying some nice weather. Personally having a dog to walk each morning before work I relish not having to don the waterproofs!
With us being nearly a month into the tenant fee ban, as advised in my last newsletter, I wanted to send our regards and update you with a few things in the world of lettings.
GENERAL MARKET CONDITIONS
We have seen a recent upturn in properties taken but we are still experiencing offers being made, and accepted, to avoid longer term voids. Discussing with other local agents this is very much the norm and we will always, as stated previously, liaise closely with you to discuss optimum rent levels to avoid empty periods.
“I am sick to death of discussing Brexit”
I am sick to death of discussing Brexit so you will be pleased to hear that I won’t but we do have the prospect of a new Prime Minister shortly and who knows what will be the upshot of that! Answers on a post card?!
Brighton and Hove still does have a shortage of properties due to the lack of land for development, as does neighbouring district’s and boroughs, so I firmly believe a property investment remains a financially secure investment here.
TENANT FEE BAN
We have seen little or no impact to the tenant fee ban excepting that we are now having to charge you, our valued clients, £100 per fully referenced tenant. There has been no change in the level of references taken so you can rest assured that our high standards are still being met to protect your interests. References never guarantee a perfect tenant but they do tell us at least if false information is provided prior to the tenancy starting!
We have now completed our audits of tenants damage deposits held that exceed 5 weeks worth of rent and have refunded those tenants – which we legally have to do – the difference. This was another aspect of the tenant fee ban.
Having recently had a case go to Court for recovery of rent and possession proceedings against a tenant, who was in significant arrears, I just thought it might be useful to explain the procedures available as I know some landlords have contacted me with regard to this.
Basically there are two ways we can evict a tenant should problems occur with rent or breach of the tenancy, or indeed should you simply need the property back to sell and a tenant refuses to leave. They are;
Section 8 proceedings for recovery of arrears and possession of the property. If a tenant is in at least 2 calendar months in arrears a Section 8 notice can be served and acted upon at the County Court. There are certain mandatory grounds whereby a judge must grant possession (such as two months rent in arrears) and certain discretionary grounds whereby the Judge can use discretion as to whether to make an award in your favour (for example the tenant may not be in 2 months in arrears but consistently is late in paying the rent or only paying portions keeping them just under the 2 month mandatory ground). Under section 8 an award for monies owed can also be made by the Judge.
Section 21 and Accelerated Possession Proceedings. You can apply to the Courts for possession of a property as long as the tenancy is not in a fixed term and as long as it is not a ‘revenge eviction’. This is as long as a Section 21 notice has been correctly served on the tenant, and has expired, asking for vacant possession and the tenant has failed to vacate. A section 21 notice gives the tenant two months of notice which is the statutory length of time with the tenancies we use. Under this route you cannot make a monetary claim during the same proceedings but could of course take the tenant to a small claims court for recovery of the debt.
The above is an exceptionally truncated explanation of the differences between the two options and there are a whole myriad of reasons as to why you may choose one of the other. I have to say that with this recent experience my preference would be to go down the Section 21 route as frankly tenants who are in arrears may not be in a position to pay them in any event even if they are ordered to!