Renters Reform Bill – Update

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  • Renters Reform Bill – Update

The call for evidence on the renters reform bill has now been published. The report was informed by the opinions of the wide range of industry representatives.

The report shares recommendations from cross party levelling up, housing and communities committees. These are now suggestions that will be taken forward within the white paper.

Addressing affordability issues.

There is a huge amount of concerns now in the industry about people not being able to afford their rent. There has been a 25% drop in supply volumes in the past 3 years and figures indicate this may be an increasing issue in the sector.

Due to the huge amount of increase legalisation that has caused landlords costs to rise as more rules come into play. Including upgrades to properties. The renters reform bill and proposed new energy performance certificate requirements may see landlords profits squeezed even further. Ultimately forcing them to sell up and those remaining to increase their rental figures.

It is important that people recognise the affordability issues in the private rented sector. The committee recommends a review of the current tax resume for landlords in the buy to let sector. The goal to be making investing in this sector more financially attractive to more landlords.

Some of the suggestions are:

  1. Further clarifying the role of the property redress scheme to understand the value of Government places and smaller portfolios.
  2. Realigning housing benefit with the 30th percentile in each broad rental market area to ensure it covers the tenants housing costs.
  3. Implementing the tourism accommodation registration scheme in England as soon as possible.

Giving landlords more security has also been discussed.

The report recognised the introduction of periodic tenancies should strike a balance between security of tenure for tenants and a agree of security for landlords. The recommendations are at a requirement for tenants to wait at least four months before they can give two months notice. This will give the landlord a legal six months rent from the outskirt of the tenancy.

Fixed term tenancies for students.

The report proposes that fixed term tenancies should stay in place across the whole of the housing sector for students.

Landlords will therefore be required to sign the existing codes of conduct. The report advises that there is an alternative of creating one single national code. Financial penalties may also be introduced for landlords that try to use this exception to rent to non-students.

Court processes and section 21.

The report highlights the necessity working with landlords on adapting the court process before abolishing the section 21. This is to ensure that landlords have the confidence in the system.

It suggests creating a specialist housing court to unblock the process. This would then have better prioritisation and fast tracking claims of rent arrears and anti-social behaviour.

There are proposals for more changes to the section 8.

The reports recommends strengthening further section 8 grounds for sales or occupation. It proposes;

  1. Increasing the notice period that landlords have to give when gaining possession of the sale or occupied property to 4 months.
  2. Extending the amount of time that must pass in the tenancy before grounds can be applied, from 6 months to 1 year.
  3. Increasing the notice period from 2 months to 4 months.
  4. Not allowing landlords to remarketing or relet the property within 6 months of the grounds being exercised.
  5. Encouraging landlords to sell the property to the sitting tenants.

The report also advises that ground 14, which addresses anti-social behaviour, should become mandatory. This includes more guidance to define anti-social behaviour and under certain circumstances possession to be granted.

A realistic decent homes standard.

This currently only applies to social housing sector to ensure homes are of a decent standard. There is a call to introduce a legally binding decent homes standards to the PRS.

The report states that the Government plans to “provide a suitable time table for implantation” giving landlords time to make relevant upgrades. They will also consider a gap on associated costs to meet state of repair and reasonable modern facilities and services. Together with a reasonable degree of thermal comfort.

This will all increase landlords costs.

The scope on the ombudsman.

An ombudsman currently exists for letting agents to mediate complaints that tenants may have. However, no ombudsman exists to mediate directly between landlords and tenants in the PRS.

The housing ombudsman for social housing associates recently suggested that the new ombudsman should cover both social and private rented sectors, with the same level of potential compensation to tenants.

The report proposes replacing current letting agents schemes with a “single ombudsman covering all letting agents and landlords” to avoid confusion and to streamline the dispute process.

Decent home standards will be extending to apply to both sectors, monitoring and addressing complaints throughout the industry through a single ombudsman that can also deal with enforcements.

The property portal.

The bill proposes for a new property portal aims for all property documents to be hosted on the online space, to create more visibility for industry state holders.

How the portal will work at this moment in time nobody understands. It is believed that a unique property reference numbers are likely to be deployed to match relevant documents such as deposit and electrical certificates and to monitor compliance.

The report states that other items should be included in the portal such as gas and electrical safety certificates and reports and other reports generated by trades people such as any performance data, details of the ombudsman and deposit protection scheme membership.

The report highlights the need to digitise all the information. Financial penalties for false or misleading information would also be introduced.

Tenants rights.

The report suggests that the Government should abandon its plan to legislate that landlords cant unreasonably withhold consent. However, they want to define the word unreasonably. The report calls for the Government to explain how it will stop landlords from banning tenants on benefits.

The Government are trying to streamline as many issues as possible without realising what the consequences could be. The Government are very keen to push this bill through as quickly as possible but again the detail is so small and confusing it hasn’t yet got a defined direction in which it is going. We will give further updates.

Mark Harrington proprietor to Harringtons Lettings

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google-review Review
17:30 22 Feb 24
Have been very accommodating and helpful when calling agents. They have been very helpful in being able to secure a house for students.
16:42 21 Feb 24
Went above and beyond to get things sorted for me
Brittany Stace
Brittany Stace
11:18 24 Jan 24
Harringtons have been incredibly helpful and supportive of us as new renters and they have been super efficient in getting all of the documents sent through and signed in such a short period of time. Thank you!
Georgie Prebble
Georgie Prebble
20:36 05 Jan 24
Jade Innes
Jade Innes
10:24 04 Jan 24
So far the service has been good. The staff are very friendly and quick to respond to any questions and requests.
Polly Smith
Polly Smith
11:17 28 Dec 23
we chose this letting agents as they chose a good bills company that is much cheaper than other agents. When viewing houses the staff were very friendly and have been very helpful in answering our questions and making the process as easy as possible.
Emma Howe
Emma Howe
16:06 14 Nov 23
I would rate Harringtons Lettings a 5/5. Very lovely on the phone and very quick and easy to communicate with via email. Any problems have been resolved in no time at all. So far so good!I found Harringtons via Rightmove.
Akwisitions Feedback
Akwisitions Feedback
16:25 30 Oct 23
Very responsive and super helpful throughout the process. Highly recommended!
Chloe Ballard
Chloe Ballard
17:28 02 Oct 23
Although I have only been renting with Harringtons for a short period of time, I have had nothing but a positive experience. From viewing to admin updates. The admin team especially are very polite and quick to respond and I have no doubt that the rest of my tenancy will run smoothly. I would recommend to anyone considering renting in brighton.
Matthew Ball
Matthew Ball
11:46 19 Sep 23
Professional communication with tenant although entirely impersonal. There was a bigger disconnect in their communication with the landlord in most cases, which seemed to be either slow or non-existent (discovered after contacting the landlord directly).Property was full of spider webs on day 1 despite apparently being professionally cleaned. Took a day off of work to clean it on move out day, leaving it cleaner than when it received but still had to pay part of the deposit for professional cleaning.It has been a while since I have rented, but I'll avoid letting agencies completely now if this is anything close to the average renting experience.
Ronan SK
Ronan SK
12:38 12 Sep 23
Great professionalism/communciation from the start up until the end of my tenancy. Definitely set the standards for what agencies should be like. Highly recommend to those within Brighton.
Daniel Sutton
Daniel Sutton
10:29 24 Aug 23
I have rented with Harringtons Lettings before and have always found the agents to be quick, efficient, friendly and helpful. I loved their service so much I have chosen to rent with Harringtons again. Faultless 😊
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