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Propertymark's legal plea to government - ‘be fair to rental sector’

Propertymark has issued another plea to the government to be fair to the private rental sector - this time regarding a change in legal support offered to tenants.

Under the new Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service - which started this week - early legal advice is offered, free of charge, to anyone at risk of possession proceedings and loss of their home.

Advice can be provided in relation to Housing, Debt and Welfare Benefits issues, and this assistance includes so-called ’In Court Duty’ on-the-day emergency advice and advocacy to anyone facing possession proceedings.


Under the new scheme, the Legal Aid Agency is extending court duty scheme work to include early legal advice on housing, welfare benefits and debt from the moment a landlord or lender issues a notice to repossess. This is non-means and non-merits tested.

Private and social housing tenants, owner occupiers, leaseholders and those with shared ownership, immaterial of the reasons why they are facing losing their home, can access the service, providing they have written evidence of a risk of possession proceedings or loss of their home.

Examples of written evidence include a letter or notice from a landlord where an informal licence exists; notice to quit from a landlord where a renting arrangement lacks the security of tenure; letter before action as required by the Pre-Action Protocol For Possession Claims based on Home Purchase Plan Arrears in Respect of Residential Property; notice seeking possession served by a landlord; and a letter from the court notifying the Client that possession proceedings have been issued.

Now Propertymark says this initiative is fine in principle, but there is a need to remember the other side of the eviction issue.

"Propertymark recognise the UK Government is seeking to support people facing hardship or eviction, however, there needs to be an equitable system in place which is responsive, fair and progressive for all parties involved” explains chief executive Nathan Emerson. 

“We encourage the government to work more closely with landlords and agents to provide support or at least take measures to reverse the primary causes which sees many landlords selling and having to potentially evict tenants from their homes in the first place.

“It is also vital to consider the flip side of the coin whereby many landlords are also dealing with increased costs making it challenging to operate. 

“Any new system must prove fair, sensible and workable for landlords, agents and tenants equally. We welcome the idea of having procedures that address concerns, keep pace with fast moving legislation and bringing swift resolutions on an individual basis.”


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