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Archive for December, 2012

For 2013?

As 2012 draws to an end, we reflect upon the year we leave and that which awaits us.  Glancing back through recent newsletters, it might appear that there have been missed opportunities for the legislators - should they have supported the Subterranean Development Bill, bitten the bullet re business rates on empty commercial properties or made squatting in a residential property a crime thus making commercial property more vulnerable to trespasers?  It is, however, the refusal in England to accept the Law Commission’s Final Report and draft Bill on “Renting Homes” that should, arguably, be placed high on the priority list for 2013.

The law governing the privately rented residential markt is, to quote the Law Commission, “an irrationally complicated mess”.  Scotland addressed the difficulties by introducing the Private Rented Housing (Scotland) Act in 2011.  The Welsh Government announced in 2012 that it too would be taking forward legislation to implement the Commissioners’ recommendations during the lifetime of the current Assembly.

In its Final Report, published in May 2006, the Commission recommended the replacement of the then existing multiplicity of tenacy and licence types that continue to haunt the English market with a simple system of secure and standard contracts.  The Commissioners state landlords and occupiers would benefit from “identical contracts for council and housing associaiton tenants” and “improvements to council and housing association tenants’ rights; e.g. better succession rights and the right to apply to add a partner or flatmate to the contract”.  They also recommended the adoption of “Model contracts approved by the Government/Welsh Ministers to make private renting easier, cheaper and more flexible” - recommendations which would allow for the abolition of the web of present agreements including secure tenancies, assured tenancies, assured shorthold tenancies and “various varieties of common law tenancies”.  For a Government that holds itself out as “modernising”, one would have thought rationalisation would appeal.  Perhaps it will in the new year?  Want to hear more?  Contact Hatherleigh Training.