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Propertymark calls for tougher rules on abandoned tenancies

  • 11/08/2023
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Propertymark calls for tougher rules on abandoned tenancies
Propertymark has urged the government to give attention to issues caused by the abandonment of tenancies in the Renters Reform Bill.

Nathan Emerson, chief executive of the trade association, has written to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on behalf of a housing sector coalition saying he was “concerned on some areas with some provisions requiring further clarity”. 

He said abandoned tenancies could lead to increases costs for landlords in the form of higher insurance and ensuring tenant possessions are safeguarded. Further, abandoned properties can become targets for anti-social behaviour and vandalism. 

The tenant can also return at any time as they still have a legal tenancy, meaning the property cannot be re-let during that time, and landlords face a loss of rental income. 

Emerson noted that under the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, if a landlord suspects a property has been abandoned they must try to contact the tenant for one month, after which they can end the tenancy. This ensures that a landlord is unlikely to repossess a property until they are sure a tenant is not returning. 


‘Supporting tenants, landlords and letting agents’

It was suggested that making these properties free could increase the number of homes available for rent, reduce the risks associated with abandoned properties and give more security to landlords. 

Alternatively, Emerson proposed bringing in provisions named in part 3 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016, which would allow landlords to seize abandoned properties more easily. 

Emerson wrote: “By bringing these provisions into force, the UK government will be supporting tenants, landlords and letting agents.  

“It may increase supply of private rented sector properties by reducing the time they are left unoccupied; help meet some of the aims of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill by reducing the occurrence of dilapidated and empty properties and increase landlords’ income on an ongoing basis so they can improve standards and keep rents fair.” 

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