Legal Update

The government has carried out over 127 new laws in the last 5 years in the rental market and is not stopping. Unfortunately, they seem to believe that more legislation is required to deal with rouge landlords. Whilst we appreciate that the rent sector does require some form of policing, we generally believe that it is now starting to become more red tape than ever before. Tenants are generally starting to question almost everything daily, so you need to make sure you get the law absolutely correct.

What was in the Queens Speech and how will it affect me?

There has been a huge amount that the government have been trying to push through but has been stifled by the question of Brexit taking place over the last few months.

They are now returning to improve what they believe is certain areas that tenants need protection on such as follows;

Breathe.

We have already done an article here on Breathe. The government at the very last minute changed the Section 8 notice to now include that you must put Breathe into the notice. This in real terms gives the tenant potentially the ability to stop the notice being enforced for at least another 60 days. They must go to the council, and you should read our article if your tenants are in arrears of what now needs to be done. Obviously, with Harringtons we run a guarantor system, so we never get into this position but if you have properties elsewhere do not hesitate to contact us to discuss it.

Leasehold reform.

The government as proposed in the Queens Speech will be doing reviews of the ground rents in leasehold. They will not be able to retrospective cancel ground rents, but they will be looking to ensure that any new leases that are granted in future do not have any form of ground rents.

Competition in market authority.

The government will now investigate the potential miss selling in the leasehold section which mainly relates to the onerous ground rent terms and ever increasing. They will then look for consultants through housing developers and look to carry out further reforms through the law commission who have already stated there should not be any more leases with ground rents.

Better deal for renters in England.

They will now publish their consultation in response to reforming tenancy law to abolish the section 21 “no fault” eviction and improve the security for tenants in the private rented section. This will include strengthening repossession grounds for landlords when they have a valid clause.

In real terms this has already been potentially looked at through the renter’s reform bill which keeps getting changed almost on a weekly basis. The problem with the renter’s reform bill is it has no actual content to it. There is nothing within it that will be able to tell landlords exactly what they will need to do in future. The reality is the government want to completely scrap the section 21 notice so in effect you cannot get your property back without a valid excuse. At this moment it would leave landlords having to explain why they want their property back and listing a new ground for it. It is something you will need to consider in future when you are renewing contracts. Unfortunately, we still don’t have any detail but what we do have can be read here.

Lifetime tenancy deposits.

The government have already outlined proposals for a new lifetime tenancy model that eases the burden on tenants. This enables them to move their deposit from one property to another. It is supposed to improve the experience for renting within the private rental sector. However, how this will work in real terms once a claim has been made on the deposit nobody quite knows as the proposals again have not had any details to them. We will keep you updated.

Improving standards in rented accommodation.

The government have already bought in previous legalisation under the unfit human homes for improvements in rented accommodation. However, they wish to extend this further. They will want to ensure that all tenants have a right of redress. They want well targeted effective enforcement that drives out criminal landlords. One of these examples will be the merits of a landlord register. They will be producing a white paper detailing the reform package in the Autumn and legalisation will then follow thereafter.

Redress scheme for all landlords.

The reform package is likely to include a requirement for all private landlords to belong to a redress scheme. The government believe that this will drive up standards in the rental sector and ensure that tenants have a right of redress ie compensation. However, it is still not sure whether your redress scheme will through us as your letting agent or that you will have to have an individual one. We are already a part of a redress scheme as a legal requirement make us. They will also consider further reforms of the private rented sector including enforcement for improvements in property conditions. These will include a set of measures to hold bad landlords to account for delivering unsafe and decent housing to tenants without penalising good landlords.

They will explore the improvements and possible efficiency in possession process in the courts to make it quicker and easier for landlords who want to use it.

EICR’s – Electrical installation condition reports.

These are now compulsory for all properties. If you do not have one, then it is absolutely imperative that you now have the report carried out. To include all recommendations.

If you are unsure on what is required do not hesitate to contact us on 01273 724000.

Right to rent guide.

The right to rent guide has recently been updated. If you do renew your tenancies you need to ensure that this is included. It is critical without it you are not entitled to serve a notice on a tenant. You must show not only that you have given it to your tenants, but they have acknowledged it. It is important that you do this.

Right to rent.

The laws for right to rent are changing on the 17th May 2021. Reverting back to what they were previously. Ie you will need to see your tenant face to face and see a copy of their passport. If you do not again you are in breech. Therefore not entitled to claim possessions if you do not have it. There is also the ability to go to the government website with the correct settlement requirements. From here you can see if the tenant has the ability to rent a property in the United Kingdom. This is now critical.

If you do have a property which we currently do not manage, and you would like to have a valuation. Please do not hesitate to contact us on 01273 724000 alternatively you can contact us on valuations@harringtonslettings.co.uk

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