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News – Bailiff evictions & Southend Selective Licensing,

This will be a regular news update for members in order to keep up with changes in legislation and relevant news items for landlords.

Extension to bailiff evictions
There has been an extension to the ban on bailiff evictions, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced on 14 February 2021. The ban on bailiff evictions – which was introduced at the start of the pandemic – has been extended for another 6 weeks – until 31st March 2021- with measures kept under review in line with the latest public health advice.
Exemptions remain in place for the most serious circumstances that cause the greatest strain on landlords as well as other residents and neighbours, such as illegal occupation, anti-social behaviour and arrears of 6 months’ rent or more.

Disagreement over wording of ‘Anti-Landlord’ consultation
Southend Council are looking to introduce Selective Licensing in certain areas of the Borough. Southend Council leader Ian Gilbert has told local media that areas in the centre of the town had  “persistent and significant” problems caused by crime, antisocial behaviour and poorly-managed accommodation.
But the local landlord group – SEAL – claims the consultation is geared against landlords.

Judith Codarin, SEAL secretary, tells the Southend Echo: “There were questions with basically one answer like would you like to improve your home and would you like less antisocial behaviour? There is only one answer to questions like that. No one is going to say they want worse housing and more antisocial behaviour.
We’ve tried to move forward on this but the way they have done it is totally political. Everyone wants these things but the way it is being pushed through is very inappropriate timing when we are all trying to catch up with issues around the pandemic.”

SEAL was initially formed to coordinate a response to Southend council’s plans. It had entered into a partnership with the council to improve the standard of privately rented properties, and reduce anti-social behaviour throughout SEAL managed properties.

Prior to the dispute over wording, the landlord body stated on its website: “SEAL has its own Code of Conduct to follow as well as a Complaints Procedure in conjunction with Southend Borough Council. Being a member of SEAL already gives agents and landlords huge benefits in this unique partnership, an innovative landmark initiative, being closely monitored by other Councils around the country. “SEAL also benefits the tenant through the identification stickers that Members put into their rented or managed properties. The tenant or resident is able to contact SEAL using the phone help line to tackle ASB at the property”.