Housing Act 2004 fails both landlords and tenants

The National Federation of Residential Landlords says the government’s passing of the Housing Act 2004, fails both landlords and tenants.

The aim of the act is to improve the standards and management of houses in mnultiple occupation.

It requires landlords with properties of three or more storeys and occupied by five or more unrelated persons who share facilities to license their properties.

It also includes, for the first time, student housing, and many such properties will now need to be licensed.

The NFRL says it will do everything to ensure that this act is fairly and sensibly introduced through the secondary legislation.

It says: “The implementation of the Housing Act will cost substantial sums of money, and landlords will be required to provide the funds. It will inevitably increase the rent charged to tenants.

“Since the introduction of the Housing Act 1988, when landlords were for the first time allowed to let properties at market rents and for fixed periods, the private rented market began to reverse its continued decline over the previous 50 years.

“The 2004 Housing Act is the first act since 1988 that will make private landlords reconsider whether they wish to remain as landlords.

“There is no question that a few rogue landlords do not provide decent accommodation, but most do, and the freeing up of the market since 1988 has demonstrated that landlords will let property if allowed to do so in a reasonably regulated climate.

“The government, by introducing the current act, has given local authorities not only the duty to ensure that all high-risk properties are licensed but also the discretion to license other properties, either through selective or additional licensing.

“Many local authorities understand its local private rented sector market very well and do not believe licensing will in any way improve the properties in a better way than under current legislation.

“Other local authorities will undoubtedly see this act as an opportunity to license most of the private rented sector and will take all steps possible to do just that.

“At a late stage in the passing of the Bill through the House of Lords, the government added an amendment whereby all deposits will be brought under government regulation.

“The number of deposits causing disputes between landlord and tenant is estimated at only one in 10,000.

“To regulate against all landlords holding a total of more than 750,000 deposits, in order to deal with a very small minority and then not introduce at the same time an easily accessible deposit dispute resolution procedure without the need to use county courts.

“This is evidence of political expediency and certainly not sensible regulation.

“By introducing the 2004 Housing Act, the government has failed both landlords and tenants by imposing unnecessary work on landlords and on local authorities, sadly the cost of which will be borne by the tenant.”