Landlord Law Newsround #341

Landlord Law Blog NewsroundWelcome to our weekly Newsround, let’s see what has been in the housing news this week.

The Renters Reform Bill is Toast

Following on from my last Newsround, as you probably all know by now, the Renters Reform Bill did not make it through the Parliamentary ‘washup’ process and is now no more.

Whoever gets elected will inevitably bring in a new bill (for England), and also, inevitably, the abolition of section 21 will be in it.  How this is to be done and what else will be in the bill we will have to wait and see.

There are unlikely to be any changes in Wales though (or at least not immediately).

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill did make it, though (and is now the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act 2024), but will not come into force until after the election.  The Independent Landlord has a useful post explaining how it will work.

Right to Rent checks soar

Since the penalties increased dramatically at the beginning of this year with anything up to £20,000.00 fines, there has been a significant increase in the Right to Rent checks, which is up 577% year on year.

Tim Barnett chief executive of Credas Technologies says

Increasingly letting agents are embracing the latest technology to carry out certified ID checks. As a certified IDSP, our ID identity verification software has been developed using next-generation biometric facial recognition technology, enabling agents to perform ID checks in real-time and confirm that the ID matches the actual person.ID verification.

More changes were announced last week from the government on Right to Rent rules where under the new Right to Rent regulations of the EU Settlement Scheme, anyone with ‘pre settled status’ will be able to prove this easily and the duration of checking will be extended from two years to five years and no further checks will be needed if the person remains in a tenancy agreement.

Furthermore, it will remove the pre-settled status expiry date on digital profiles shown to third parties in the online checking services for Right to Rent.

Hopefully though if Labour are elected they will get rid of this distasteful legislation.

Should tenants pay only what they can afford?

Jonathan Rolande, a property industry commentator, has produced a five-point guidance to landlords who have tenants with increasing rent arrears. This may be worth taking heed of as court bailiffs evicted 2,682 households in the first three months of this year who had been served a section 21. According to government figures, this is up by 19% in the first quarter of this year. This is now at its highest level since 2017.

He advocates the following:-

  1. Be patient, especially if the tenant has been a good one. Anyone’s circumstances can change.
  2. Ask the tenant what they can afford to pay.
  3. It is easier to help an existing tenant rather than evict and have to start again.
  4. Make allowances for vulnerable tenants.
  5. Help them if they need to claim benefits.

Note that there are other things you can do some of which are explained (with videos) on the information page here.

HMO licences are at an all time high

In 2018 there were 7,839 licenses.  Fast forward to 2023 and they now stand at a record breaking 27,177 – according to data firm Searchland. They put this growth down to a robust rental market and new licensing schemes.

The East of England has seen the most increases in licenses increasing from 580 to 1,053, whilst Yorkshire and Humber have actually seen a drop in HMO licenses from 1,114 to 454.

Searchland Co-Founder Mitchell Fasanya says that HMOs are crucial to the housing market as they offer affordable housing in urban areas. Shawbrook Bank states that HMOs are becoming more popular with non-portfolio landlords.

Letting agent failed to register tenancy deposits – again

Bowden Property Group Ltd in Belfast failed to attend court this week for failing to protect two tenancy deposits of £1,1200 and £490. They were convicted in their absence. This was not the first time of failing to secure a tenancy deposit, they did not secure a previous deposit of £340 earlier this year.

You can read more here.

And finally this week, you may want to read an article published this week where I give some top tips for landlords.

Snippets

Landlords on the fence ahead of general election
Tenant tries to sue landlord over mould and fails spectacularly
Landlord fined for squeezing tenants into illegal HMO
Landlord banned for three years from renting properties

Newsround will be back next week.

The post Landlord Law Newsround #341 appeared first on The Landlord Law Blog.

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