The Debt Respite Scheme, (also known as Breathing Space), will come into force on 4th May. This legislation temporarily stops landlords from chasing tenants for unpaid debts by offering a period of time to find a solution to their financial problems.
There are two types of breathing space that a tenant may enter into:
a standard breathing space and
a mental health crisis breathing space.
Both these operate in the same way. Creditors are not allowed to contact them directly to request payment of the debt, or take enforcement action to recover the debt, (including by taking possession of a property).
However, the duration and frequency of the breathing spaces vary. A ‘standard’ arrangement will last for a maximum of 60 days. For a mental health crisis breathing space, the Breathing Space ends after 90 days.
Only Local Authorities providing debt advice and FCA approved debt advisors can grant Breathing Spaces to people in debt. They would be expected to speak to them to establish whether this is the best course of action.
If a Breathing Space is thought to be the most appropriate way forward, their name will be added to an electronic record and their creditors will be notified. The decision can be challenged.
For further reading on this radical legislation please read this article in Landlord Today
Letting with pets
There was a second reading of a Private Members Bill in Parliament on 29th January which aims at stopping ‘No pets’ clauses in tenancy agreements. Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell’s, Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) Bill, does not give an unconditional right to have pets, (aimed at cats and dogs more than others), in the rental property. A responsible owner test would have to be passed with a checklist to be fulfilled. This would include the pet’s vaccination history, microchipping and that the pet is appropriate for the property.
Landlords now cannot take an additional pet deposit as any deposit taken is capped at a maximum of 5 weeks rent. However, the landlord would still need to be financially protected for damage caused by the pet. The landlord will still be able to choose the tenant that they think is suitable for the property.
Wednesday 3 March the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak will deliver his Budget speech.
Friday 5 March Lovewell Blake accountants will be holding a virtual event hosted by Richard Porritt, Business Editor of the EDP and the EADT. Richard will be joined by Lovewell Blake Tax specialists who will go through the key points of the Budget, which could include:
Potential rises in business and personal taxes
Further extension of COVID support measures
Where tax policy will extend over the coming months
Friday 5 March 2021 timings:
8.00am – Registration
8.05am – Welcome from Richard Porritt
8.10am – Presentation begins
9.00am – Q&As
9.15am – Close