Latest News

Winter weather precautions

20 January 2021

Propertymark Industry Supplier, Gallagher offers practical steps that can help agents and their clients reduce the risk of damage to property as areas of the nation are set to see further warnings of more inclement weather to come. Damage caused by the escape of water from frozen pipes and other equipment can be extremely costly in repairs and disruption. Read More...

Concerns raised over new energy efficiency proposals

20 January 2021

Propertymark has responded to the UK Government’s consultation on Improving the Energy Performance of Privately Rented Homes in England and Wales by highlighting a number of concerns. These relate to affordability and the need to look beyond a one-size fits all policy and develop proposals that work with the different age, condition, and size of properties in the private rented sector. Read More...

Change smoke and carbon rules for earlier checks

19 January 2021

Propertymark has responded to the UK Government’s consultation on extending the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations in England, arguing that the rules should be amended so that landlords and agents must make sure the alarms are tested prior to the start of the tenancy and not on the first day of each new tenancy. Read More...

Licensing schemes are irresponsible in the current climate

19 January 2021

Propertymark has responded to a number of licensing scheme proposals from local authorities across England in recent months arguing that Councils who are pursuing the implementation of licensing schemes are being socially irresponsible. This is because in these unprecedented times landlords and agents are not able to comply with the requirements and Council resources are unlikely to be able to effectively enforce them. Read More...

The Letting Partnership commend agents on the crucial service they provide

19 January 2021

Propertymark Industry Supplier, The Letting Partnership, a specialist provider of client accounting and Client Money Protection services, outlines why letting agents should stand proud as we begin 2021and take stock of the vital role they perform during the challenges presented by the pandemic. Read More...

Government urged to stick to courts reopening timetable and amend the system

Tuesday 15 September 2020

Following the UK Government’s recent announcement about the courts in England and Wales reopening from 21 September to hear possession hearings, ARLA Propertymark has written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to urge them to stick to the timetable but also to reflect on the implications of COVID-19, looking to adequately resource and amend the existing courts' system.

It is vital that the courts begin hearing cases again as soon as possible so that those who choose not to pay or are guilty of unacceptable behaviour, face justice. ARLA Propertymark has repeatedly raised the issue that tenant arrears incurred prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, are unrelated to the outbreak and should be treated separately. In addition, further last-minute announcements delaying the courts from reopening and extending notice periods, fail to consider the practical implications and knock-on effects for agents as businesses who manage multiple tenancies.

Pre-pandemic arrears

When the stay on evictions was announced, thousands of cases which were non-COVID-19 related became stuck in the court system, including many cases of anti-social behaviour and refusal to pay. A case in North London of a tenant who incurred £22,000 in rent arrears prior to COVID-19 was due to appear in court just as evictions were banned. The tenant avoided answering the case in court and now owes arrears close to £30,000, which has caused the landlord extreme financial hardship.

It is vital that when the courts reopen, they prioritise cases involving anti-social behaviour along with cases where landlords have received no rent for over a year and face unmanageable debts. 

The future

Long-term confidence and investment in the private rented sector are vital as the sector continues to house the nation. The UK Government has given additional cover to tenants already in arrears, and they’ll continue to stay in properties for many more months without paying rent. The concerns are that the UK Government hasn’t formulated a plan to deal with the huge backlog and when the stay on possession claims expires, there will be a potential backlog of over 62,000 ‘business as usual’ landlord possession claims, a figure which excludes claims that may have arisen as a result of COVID-19.

The ten new Nightingale courts recently introduced may not be enough to deal with the backlog and this will have a knock-on effect for agents and private landlords waiting to regain possession of their properties.

Renters' Reform Bill

In the absence of any meaningful plan to boost the level of social housing, the removal of Section 21 from the Housing Act 1988 will impact good landlords in the private rented sector. If Section 21 is removed, ARLA Propertymark believes that Section 8 must be reformed, and a new specialist housing tribunal created. All grounds for possession both existing and new should be made mandatory in order to effectively compensate for the removal of Section 21. Without this, supply will almost certainly fall which will have the consequential effect of raising rents and will further discourage new landlords from investing in the sector.

Read the full letter

Quote mark

ARLA Propertymark represents nearly 10,000 letting agents across the UK. Throughout the pandemic, we have advised and encouraged all our members to work with tenants and landlords in order that they show flexibility and avoid any tenants being evicted because of Covid-19. Most agents and landlords are doing all that they can to help tenants who are facing financial difficulties because of job losses or furlough.

We are willing to engage positively with the UK Government to ensure everyone fully understands the consequences of any changes and to use the collective resource and evidence from our membership to ensure any reforms are workable. The long-term confidence and investment in the private rented sector are vital as it continues to house the nation.

Timothy Douglas

Timothy Douglas
ARLA Propertymark Policy and Campaigns Manager