Posts with tag: Robert Jenrick

Vagrancy Act criminalising homelessness to be repealed

Published On: February 24, 2022 at 9:09 am


Categories: Law News

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The UK government has confirmed that it will repeal the Vagrancy Act, the 1824 law that criminalises rough sleeping and begging in England and Wales.

Matt Downie, Chief Executive of Crisis, comments: “For almost two hundred years, the criminalisation of homelessness has shamed our society. But now, at long last, the Vagrancy Act’s days are numbered and not a moment too soon.

“This offensive law does nothing to tackle rough sleeping, only entrenching it further in our society by driving people further from support. We know there are better, more effective ways to help people overcome their homelessness.

“We thank the UK government for using the policing bill to finally consign this appalling act to history, where it belongs. We look forward to working with them to finish the job without delay and ensure the criminalisation of destitution is over.

“We are immensely grateful for the tireless work of Peers and MPs from across parties, as well as every Crisis supporter who has got behind our Scrap the Act campaign, who have all brought us to this historic moment.”

Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, previous Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, comments: “The repeal of the Vagrancy Act builds on the success of the Everyone In programme I established during the pandemic and is another important milestone on the road to ending rough sleeping.

“This long overdue reform will reframe the issue of homelessness away from it being a question of criminality, and towards our modern understanding of homelessness as a complex health, housing and social challenge.

“The Vagrancy Act is an archaic piece of legislation which creates a wholly unnecessary obstacle that homeless people must overcome in order to rebuild their lives. I welcome the action that is now being taken to put repeal into law and I urge the government to continue to work with charities, including Crisis, on the detail of its implementation.”

Standard tenancy agreement amended to prevent blanket ban on pets

Published On: January 29, 2021 at 9:31 am


Categories: Landlord News,Tenant News

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The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has announced a change to the Government’s standard tenancy agreement in England.

In a press release published yesterday, the Government states that landlords are no longer able to issue a blanket ban on pets. The aim is for the new standard tenancy agreement to make it easier for tenants with pets to find rented accommodation. 

The statement goes on to say: “Instead, consent for pets will be the default position, and landlords will have to object in writing within 28 days of a written pet request from a tenant and provide a good reason.”

Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP commented: We are a nation of animal lovers and over the last year more people than ever before have welcome pets into their lives and homes.

“But it can’t be right that only a tiny fraction of landlords advertise pet-friendly properties and in some cases, people have had to give up their beloved pets in order to find somewhere to live.

“Through the changes to the tenancy agreement we are making today, we are bringing an end to the unfair blanket ban on pets introduced by some landlords. This strikes the right balance between helping more people find a home that’s right for them and their pet while ensuring landlords’ properties are safeguarded against inappropriate or badly-behaved pets.”

Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government, has Tweeted: “Too few renters can enjoy the pleasure and companionship of pets. We’ve updated the standard tenancy agreement to make allowing well behaved pets the norm – and are encouraging all landlords and agents to adopt it.”

Jen Berezai, Co-founder of AdvoCATS, comments: “AdvoCATS welcomes the new Model Tenancy Agreement announced by the Ministry of Housing, it’s fantastic news and a huge step forward for all those who have campaigned for change. Now, responsible pet owning tenants, many of whom have previously been forced to choose between their pet vs a roof over their heads, will find it much easier to keep their family together.

“AdvoCATSeastmids is a voluntary organisation that offers a free support and advice service to landlords and tenants where a tenant wants to bring a pet or pets into a rented property. For more information, including a DIY Top Tips section for those outside the core East Midlands area, please visit”

Mark Hayward, Chief Policy Adviser of Propertymark comments: “Whilst we acknowledge that allowing pets can make a property more desirable and encourage tenants to rent for longer, even the best-behaved pets will have an impact on a property.

“The UK Government must recognise the impact of their decision to cap deposits and the knock-on costs that landlords face. This is a complex issue that is determined on a case-by-case basis highlighting the need for landlords to get advice from a professional letting agent.”

Read the full press release here:

Landlords can access the Government’s model agreement for a shorthold assured tenancy here:

Sadiq Khan makes request for two-year rent freeze in London

Published On: September 18, 2020 at 8:21 am


Categories: Lettings News

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Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, has written to Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to request powers to implement a two-year rent freeze to help prevent COVID-19 evictions.

This freeze would be introduced as an emergency measure. It would mean that private Landlords could reduce rents in London but not increase them.

Recent research from the Greater London Authority (GLA) and YouGov has revealed half a million London tenants are potentially facing eviction.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has commented: “More than ever, COVID-19 means that many of London’s private renters are facing a really uncertain future. More likely to be in lower-paid and insecure work, the end of the furlough scheme means even more renters in the capital are now at risk of pay cuts or losing their job.

“Yet at every stage of this pandemic, renters have been treated as an afterthought by the Government, with protection measures only ever rushed out at the last minute.

“This uncertainty is causing unnecessary anxiety and stress. I’m today calling on ministers to give me the powers to stop rents rising in the capital for as long as this virus is with us, to give London’s 2.2 million renters more financial security. If Berlin can freeze rents for five years, there’s no reason London shouldn’t be able to freeze rents for two years in these extraordinary times.

“Without an operational vaccine, the economic fallout of COVID-19 will continue for months into the future. A rent freeze is only one part of a package of measures renters urgently need from Government to ensure no one is forced out onto the streets as a result of this pandemic.” 

Alicia Kennedy, Director at Generation Rent, comments: “Evictions have been paused, but that hasn’t stopped some London landlords from raising the rent, which can force a tenant to leave their home.

“At Generation Rent we’ve heard from tenants who have been hit with a rent increase after telling their landlord that their income has been affected by the pandemic. Unwanted moves can leave struggling tenants with nowhere else to go and contribute to the spread of coronavirus. 

“With the economy in recession and coronavirus cases on the rise, landlords should not be permitted to raise rents and force a tenant into an unwanted move.

“We’re delighted that the Mayor has adopted Generation Rent’s proposal for a freeze on rents to ensure tenants are able to stay safely in their homes for the duration of this crisis.”

Timothy Douglas, Policy and Campaigns Manager, ARLA Propertymark, comments: “Government has provided protection to tenants through the stay on evictions and the job retention scheme, while landlords have fallen outside of government support.

“It is important to be proportionate to all involved in the sector – tenants, agents, and landlords – as the economy struggles to recover in this period. 

“It is therefore vital that the situation is not worsened through any measures on landlords as a kneejerk reaction to the conditions created by Coronavirus.

“The vast majority of landlords are supporting good tenants to stay in their properties but a mandatory rent freeze would serve to deter investment in the private rented sector at exactly the time when more is being asked of landlords.”

Sadiq Khan has also asked for a wider package of support to renters, including:

  • Tenant grants to help them stay in their homes and clear arrears.
  • Expanding access to welfare, including scrapping the Benefit Cap uprating Local Housing Allowance to median market rents, and making additional discretionary housing payments to cover shortfalls and extending eligibility to all renters, including those not currently entitled.
  • Scrapping Section 21 evictions, and restricting access to Section 8 evictions until the above welfare changes have been made.

Evictions in England and Wales will see a ‘truce’ for tenants over Christmas

Published On: September 14, 2020 at 10:26 am


Categories: Law News

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The Government has provided a further update regarding legislation for private rental sector possession cases in England and Wales.

Once the ban is lifted and cases are yet again heard, evictions by bailiffs will still be suspended in locked-down areas and over Christmas. Exact dates for this have not yet been confirmed by the Government.

Court proceedings for evictions are due to continue from 21st September.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has said: “We have protected renters during the pandemic by banning evictions for six months – the longest eviction ban in the UK.

“To further support renters we have increased notice periods to six months, an unprecedented measure to help keep people in their homes over the winter months.

“It’s right that we strike a balance between protecting vulnerable renters and ensuring landlords whose tenants have behaved in illegal or anti-social ways have access to justice.”

Alicia Kennedy, Director at Generation Rent, comments: “It is welcome that renters will not face eviction by bailiffs around Christmas or where there are lockdown measures. 

“But outside that, thousands of renters who have had eviction notices during the pandemic still have no assurance from the Government whether they can stay in their home.

“Those who have lost income will find it difficult to find a new home so face many months of uncertainty, getting deeper into debt. The Government must offer them more support than a Discretionary Housing Payment pot that was set up before the pandemic hit.”

Timothy Douglas, Policy and Campaigns Manager for ARLA Propertymark, says: “Over the past few weeks the Government has drip-fed updates about evictions to the sector making it impossible for agents to respond and plan for the difficult months ahead. 

“The UK Government are moving the goalposts, introducing measures that will be difficult for many to implement, including staying on top of rapidly changing local lockdowns.  

“Whilst it looks like there will no further delays on the resumption of possession hearings, agents have profound concerns about investment in housing and this announcement offers no further support for the sector.

“The Government must now look at additional measures to provide direct finance to landlords and tenants to cover COVID related arrears and help boost confidence in the sector as we head into the winter.”

Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley and creator of automated lettings platform PlanetRent, comments: “There’s no doubt that thousands of renters that are suffering financial difficulty will be happy to hear the news from the Government around the winter period and will now feel more secure in their homes.

“With all of the uncertainty going on at the moment, tenants deserve to be protected by the Government from evictions that could be through no fault of their own, and could well be down to financial hardship brought on by being furloughed or losing their job altogether.

“However, it should be noted as recent research by the National Residential Landlords Association pointed out that the majority of landlords are trying to work with their tenants to resolve any issues such as rent arrears.

“Tenants and landlords should be working together in what is a difficult time for everybody, and should not use the eviction ban as an excuse to mistreat the property they live in or withhold rent if they are not in a genuinely financially difficult situation.

“Some renters may need more financial assistance from the Government but cancelling rents or getting the Government to pay would be hugely damaging.”

One month has passed since the government lifted housing market restrictions

Published On: June 12, 2020 at 8:16 am


Categories: Property News

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A month on from the announcement that restrictions on moving home in the UK have been lifted, mortgage technology provider Twenty7Tec reports the changes it has recorded in the sector.

The Jenrick effect

“Today is one month since the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, announced he was lifting the restrictions on the estate agents and housing markets. The difference it has made to search volumes for mortgages is night and day.

“In the month since, the lifting of lockdown restrictions for estate agents, the total mortgage search volumes using our systems has doubled from 479,000 searches to 955,000 searches.

“We’ve also seen the volumes of first-time buyers’ searches quadruple since that announcement. First-time buyers accounted for 39.4% of all purchase searches in the past month – up from a lockdown low of 31.82% just days before the Jenrick announcement.

“Remortgage search volumes have increased by 26% in the last month. But whereas remortgages accounted for 69.5% of the market in the month prior to J Day, they now represent 43.99% of the market in the month since.”

Challenges ahead

“There are still some major challenges ahead. Payment holidays are now in place for one in seven UK mortgages and we need to see how those are going to transition back to normal payments in challenging employment conditions.

“Lenders are also withdrawing from the 90% LTV market which is going to make it harder for first time buyers to play their role in the market. So, it’s also quite possible that this till constrain the Government’s housing-led economic recovery.

“We hope that there’s a new price point that emerges quickly between first time buyers and lenders that will continue to reinvigorate the market. Currently, demand well outstrips supply with only 50% of the volumes of mortgage products available pre-COVID now available.”

 10th April to 10th May11th May to 10th June
Total mortgage searches479,486955,606
Purchase mortgage searches146,244535,205
Remortgage searches333,242420,401
Purchase v remo30.5%:69.5%56.0%:44.0%
 Data provided by Twenty7Tec

Will the ban on evictions during the COVID-19 outbreak be extended?

Published On: May 6, 2020 at 8:09 am


Categories: Law News

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Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has faced questions from the housing select committee on how the government will continue to support tenants if the three-month ban on evictions is lifted on 25th June.

His response was that a decision will be made next month on whether there will be an extension to the ban. It was originally introduced to prevent people from losing their homes during the COVID-19 crisis.

Jenrick told MPs at a Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee meeting: “This [pre-action protocol] will apply at the end of the moratorium on evictions, whether that’s in late June or later in the year.

“It will enable tenants to have an added degree of protection, because instead of embarking upon the eviction proceedings immediately, there will be a duty upon their landlords to reach out to them, discuss their situation, and try to find an affordable repayment plan.

“This will enable tenants to remain in their homes and to recover the rent they haven’t been able to pay because of their circumstances.”

Paul Shamplina, the founder of Landlord Action, has commented: “Most court cases are currently suspended until 25th June. However, although a formal announcement on an extension to the ban on evictions is not due until June, which will be dependent on the passage of the virus and lockdown measures in place at that time, we have already received court orders which state they are suspended until the end of October, so I suspect that is a sign of things to come.

 “This is obviously very worrying for landlords, particularly those with existing possession cases issued prior to Covid-19, as those landlords will be faced with many more months of rents arrears on top of those they already had.

“The Government has been urging landlords and tenants to come to agreements and they are working to ensure pre-action protocol is in place, which will put the onus on tenants and landlords to negotiate and reach an agreement, rather than go to court. 

“This means that there will be an emphasis on mediation, such as that recently launched by the Property Redress Scheme, or landlords working in good faith with tenants to agree a payment agreement.”