The Renters Reform Bill has been a priority for the Government for some considerable time but no completed details have yet been announced.
The Government have confirmed that it is now a priority for them to push through. The Renters Reform Bill white paper is yet to make an appearance but it will be out shortly.
The last big piece of lettings legalisation to really shake up the industry was the tenants fee act in 2019. The repercussions of the ban in England and Wales are still felt three years on with debate around the influence on the industry and particular permitted payments.
Right to Rent.
There have been recent changes on the Right to Rent checks with the Government now rolling out their own scheme. If you weren’t aware of the changes you now have to get a share coded provided to you from the tenant so you can check they have the Right to Rent. There are various other subtle changes in this regard.
Biometrics residence cards or permits and workers permits are no longer allowed as proof for an applicant’s Right to Rent. A new identity validation technology will come into play when the temporary Covid adjusted checks come to an end.
The Government has also made more changes such as making tax digital this has moved a further step forward with all businesses now required to submit their VAT returns through the making tax digital process. The next step will be in 2023 and this will affect landlords most of all. With making tax digital for income tax also. You should contact you accountant in this regard.
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What will be introduced via the Renters Reform Bill?
There are still no confirmed details of what will be included within the Renters Reform Bill but we have had a few pointers such as follows;
Introducing life time deposits.
Life time deposits were original announced in 2019 as part of the Bill. Although this detail admitted from the Queens Speech in 2022. There is still a debate around how this concept would actually work. The deposits would follow tenant from property to property but how can this be implemented? It aims to help tenants free up cash to move, without the worry of an overlap between receiving an old deposit and paying out for a new one. If it is done right, landlords should receive insurance that their property will still be protected in the case of a deposit dispute. So it is a win win for both parties. Unfortunately, the details have still not yet been outlined within the white paper but we have no doubt this is coming.
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Creating a national landlord register.
The Queens Speech announced that a new property portal for landlords will be created. This is going to be similar to the landlord register. These are already in place in Scotland and Wales. A report by the centre of public data previously recommended using a national register in England, however, they state it would reduce the economy of scale. Which in effect should reduce costs for landlords. It will allow councils to focus on local enforcements. More details are too follow.
Personalising homes and keeping pets.
The Government have already outlined the pet clauses to be introduced into their standard tenancy agreement. This was done in early 2021. However, there is no requirement at this moment in time for landlords to compulsory have a pet at the property. This again will come within the Renters Reform Bill but how it will work with leasehold flats where there are covenants against this no-one knows.
Addressing energy efficiency in housing standards.
This is already contained within the MEES whereby you have to have a certain rating within your energy performance certificate. It is accepted that the Government are moving towards their rating of C by 2025 for all properties in England and Wales. Although most people believe it wont be required until 2028.
Updating material information requirements.
National trading standards have now outlined steps that we have to take to improve material information required on all property portals listings in England. This is to help tenants make a more informed decision about renting their property. By the end of May 2022 all agents and landlords need to include details listed out. These include the tenure (fore sales listings), council tax band and the price of the property or rent. This will be increased with further established different information although it has not yet been announced by the Government.
Abolishing the Section 21 whilst strengthening possession proceedings.
This is within the heart of the new Renters Reform Bill. It was proposed in 2019 to abolish the Section 21 notice. These are no fault evictions in England. Grounds for Section 8 will be strengthened, relating to arrears, to help support landlords that want to recover their property.
Applying a legally binding decent home standard.
These will set out standards that will be the first for the private rented sector, giving tenants safer, better quality and better value homes. However, some standards have already been outlined within previous bills but this will be much more of a legal standing of which landlords will have minimum requirements.
Creating a new ombudsman scheme.
A new ombudsman scheme for private landlords will help resolve disputes before reaching the courts. This will help ensure that landlords take actions to put things right even if a tenant complains. It has still not yet been decided whether your agent, which we are already part of the scheme, would be accepted or whether you would have to do this separately.
Introducing a property portal for landlords.
This property portal will function as a register to share property performance information with tenants. It will aid local authorise under enforcement. It will help landlords understand their obligations and what they are required to do to their properties.
Legislation on new regulation for social housing.
Draft legalisation shows that this will cover consumers standards, new tenant satisfaction measures and strong performance.
Setting up a new planning system and housing reform.
A new planning system will allow local residents to simplify and standardise the local planning process, making it easier for the local communities to influence.
It is also been committed to help more people own their own homes as part of their own dreams. This has been primary through the new leasehold reform act 2022. To ensure all new homes built are freeholder, with a ban on leasehold houses.
Reforming the UK’s data protection regime.
The Government will look to reform the UK’s data protection, with a bill to be published in the summer. Currently the UK follows general data protection regulations commonly known as GDPR.
We are sure that there will be additional requirements contained within the Governments white paper once it is published which we would anticipate will be later on this year. We will keep you advised.