New legislation to abolish Section 21 evictions?
Yesterday, the UK Government announced plans to consult on new legislation to abolish Section 21 evictions – so called ‘no-fault’ evictions in England. This will effectively create open-ended tenancies, and lead to what the Government believe will be more effective means of getting their property back when they genuinely need to do so.
Right to Rent scheme breaches human rights law
Rules aimed at preventing illegal immigrants from renting properties are “discriminatory” and breach human rights laws, the High Court has ruled. The “right to rent” scheme, which requires landlords to check the immigration status of tenants, was introduced in England in 2016. Judges said it would be illegal to roll it out in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland without further evaluation (for the full story please click here).
Letting industry breakthrough
Late last week, it was announced that all letting agents in the UK must, by law, be part of a Government approved Client Money Protection scheme (CMP). The new legislation, which will come into force next year, is a huge coup for the industry, and something we very much welcome.
The best time to let your property? Now!
It goes without saying that we’ve had a long, cold winter and some might say we are pretty much skipping Spring all together and heading into a long hot summer (or so we hope!).
Given the extended period of cold, grey days, more tenants have delayed looking for their next home. As the weather is improving, with lighter and brighter evenings, people will start to get moving, and now really is the time to put your property on the rental market.
Tenant Fees Bill: a fairer playing field for all is needed
MPs are currently debating the proposed Tenant Fees Bill, that’s due to be made law next year. The Bill recommends tighter regulations on tenancy deposits, holding deposits and default fees, proposing that all payments, apart from rent, default fees, security deposits of up to six weeks and holding deposits of up to one week, are prohibited.
As a member of ARLA, we are fully in favour of regulation – and behind the aim to safeguard tenants by ensuring renting costs and fees are affordable – however, we do feel that a complete ban on fees is unfair and counterproductive. For example, not allowing agents to retain the holding deposit when a tenant fails the referencing check will only serve, in the long term, to negatively impact tenants, not protect them, as these costs will have to be picked up somewhere else down the line and most likely by tenants, through rental increases, for example.
MPs are also debating how much security deposit a tenant should legally be required to provide. The current draft Bill states six weeks, but the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee believes this should be reduced to five. We generally charge four weeks’ rent as a damage deposit but there are definitely circumstances where we feel a higher deposit is warranted. For instance, where there are pets in a property, and we are concerned that the legislation will prevent a landlord from doing this, which puts them at greater risk of financial loss from damage, as in some circumstances, even six weeks rent would not be considered enough to safeguard the landlord in case anything goes wrong.