MPs recommend confiscation of property from rogue landlords
As new research shows that buy-to-let landlords can’t keep up with the flood of landlord law changes, MPs have concluded that criminal landlords should have their properties confiscated. With the rogue landlord database now in operation, could local authorities steal your property from you for a mistake you didn’t realise you had made?
8 out of 10 landlords find keeping up with the law difficult to impossible
Landlords have been inundated with hundreds of new laws and regulations in recent years. More than 500 have either been introduced or are in the pipeline to be introduced. The legal landscape is more like a seascape – always there, but constantly in motion. New research from TheHouseShop has found that most buy-to-let landlords are swimming against this tide of new legislation.
According to its research, almost two-thirds of landlords think that compliance with landlord laws and legislation is the “most challenging aspect of managing a rental property”. 8 out of 10 find it quite difficult to impossible to keep up with the constant stream of regulation changes:
- 2% find it ‘quite difficult’
- 9% find it ‘very difficult’
- 2% find it ‘impossible’
It’s easy for landlords to break the law
The barrage of law changes makes being a landlord a complex undertaking. It’s difficult to keep up with new legislation and regulations, and easy to fall foul of them.
The strategy that the government has taken to date to enforce legislation has centered on fining miscreant landlords – and for as much as tens of thousands of pounds. We’ve published articles about many of these fines, such as:
- How to avoid a hefty fine from selective landlord licensing
- Avoid buy-to-let landlord fines by knowing Right to Rent rules
- Are you prepared for the energy efficiency clampdown on buy-to-let landlords?
If politicians get their way, hefty fines will be the least of a landlord’s worries.
Enforcement of landlord laws – could it cost you your investment?
The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee – made up of cross-party MPs – recently issued its report into the private rented sector. This report says that there are currently 800,000 homes in the sector that have at least one Category 1 hazard. These homes put their tenants at risk, says the report, and local authorities should do more to remove them from the market or force landlords to upgrade them.
Among a range of actions recommended by the report are:
- A new fund to support local councils undertaking enforcement activities
- A new housing court
- A review of existing legislation relating to the private rented sector to see whether it can be simplified
In addition, the committee wants local authorities to have extra powers to act against ‘criminal’ landlords. It suggests that the ultimate sanction should be to confiscate properties.
What could this mean to you?
Many buy-to-let landlords don’t want to pay fees to professional property managers. But these two new reports – the first confirming how difficult it is to keep up with changes in landlord law, and the second effectively recommending your property could be confiscated if you don’t – show just how dangerous (and expensive) it could be to be a DIY landlord.
We support acting against repeat offenders, the rogue landlords who put their tenants’ wellbeing at risk. But can you imagine having your investment property confiscated because of a law change you didn’t know about?
Perhaps, the confiscation of property as the ultimate sanction is a good idea. However, its effectiveness may depend upon local authorities and courts applying such actions sensibly – and this is where it could all get messy.
Our comprehensive services to landlords include helping you keep up to date with new legislation. If you don’t have the time or legal knowledge to keep pace with the tide of new landlord laws, contact the Ezytrac team today on +44 0 1522 503 717. Discover a better way to profit from buy-to-let property investment.
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