Despite Brexit, the Government is still operating and has published two new guidance documents to demonstrate its commitment to give greater protection to tenants in the private rented sector (PRS) and to reform the PRS.

The new guidance is for:-

  1. Local authority enforcement practitioners, and
  2. Tenants and landlords.

Guidance is always welcome, and no doubt particularly by those working on the frontline. However, it remains to be seen whether the guidance for enforcement officers will have any effect in combating the issues of rogue landlords in the PRS. Our recent experience suggests that austerity and deep cuts in spending on public services means that those working on the frontline to combat issues around unsafe and hazardous housing in the PRS simply do not have the ability to take appropriate and timely action.

That said, there is a minority of landlords who continue to fail their tenants, failing to provide safe accommodation and failing for example to deal with deposits in accordance with the law and any assistance must be welcomed. 

The guidance for landlords and tenants sets out in some detail the obligations on landlords and all landlords (rogue or not) would do well to take account of the guidance going forward.

Landlords failing to comply with their obligations may find that they cannot terminate assured shorthold tenancies by serving a section 21 notice and will only be able to terminate if the tenant has breached the terms of the agreement.

Having said that, there is also a growing movement to abolish the s21 (no fault based) notice. So rogue or not there may come a time when landlords can only terminate in the event of breach.