"The quality of the tenant living under your roof is a complete lottery at the moment. There are serial offenders who know how to play the system and know they can’t be evicted prior to six months of occupation"
Nyree, a Partner at West Midlands law firm, Higgs LLP, called for landlords to have the ability to search for previous County Court judgments against prospective tenants.
Nyree said the ‘Property Possession Order Register’ would safeguard landlords against damage to their properties and non-payment and limit property disputes and associated litigation costs.
Campaigners have hit the headlines recently by criticising landlords for requesting personal statements and biographies from prospective tenants. The National Residential Landlords Association agreed that the trend of asking for personal statements had the potential to lead to discrimination.
However, she adds: “I can completely understand why landlords want to do background checks as thoroughly as possible.
“In fact, I would say obtaining references doesn’t go far enough. Just like when you apply for a job, you will only ask for a reference from someone you know will respond positively. Even if the reference comes from an employer, they don’t really know how that person acts as a tenant.
“I am campaigning for the introduction of a Property Possession Order Register. That way landlords would be able to see what, if any, orders have been granted against that person in previous properties, either for non-payment or damage.
“This would help protect hardworking, honest landlords against poor tenants.”
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Nyree’s comments come against a backdrop of an increasing number of landlords leaving the sector due to tax changes and the imminent end of no-fault evictions.
Research by Savills found a significant number of landlords decided to exit when the sales market was particularly hot, with properties available to rent across the UK consequently falling in Q4 of 2022.
Nyree adds: “Buy-to-let is no longer the investment dream it once was and we have a serious problem where more and more landlords are leaving the sector. The proposed end of no-fault eviction in the next one to two years means landlords will find it much more difficult to remove a tenant.
“The quality of the tenant living under your roof is a complete lottery at the moment. There are serial offenders who know how to play the system and know they can’t be evicted prior to six months of occupation. Furthermore, the maximum deposit a landlord can request is five weeks. That is unlikely to cover any significant damage.
“A Property Possession Order Register, administered by the courts, would help alleviate these concerns and could help reassure some landlords sufficiently to stay in the sector. Property disputes would also inevitably reduce, along with the costs of lengthy litigation.”