New rules for landlords just keep on coming
For those involved in residential tenancies over recent years, there always seems to be another new regulation being imposed without having time to draw breath from the last one.
It all brings an ever-tightening need for compliance by landlords and their agents with the threats of non-compliance being something not to be dismissed.
We all know about the Rent Smart Wales requirements, which has not appeared in England yet but is no doubt on its way. In England, we have seen more proposed requirements mentioned at the start of October whereby the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has pledged further regulation for letting agents in England
The announcement this month will further reform the private rented sector. Proposals include regulation of letting agents, all landlords being required to join a redress scheme overseen by an ombudsman and a new Housing Court. Such a court would make for a faster and more effective resolution of disputes about rented housing.
In addition to these proposals, it was announced that the Budget would support landlords to offer tenancies of at least 12 months for those tenants who want them and also giving at least three months’ notice when seeking to end the tenancy. It is currently two months for landlords to serve notice after the end of the fixed term.
We are still awaiting details on the previously announced ban on tenants having to pay letting agents fees, which will no doubt mean an increase on fees for the landlords.
There are of course the rules governing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, which came in in 2015, the requirement to check potential tenants ‘Right to Rent’, the need to register a tenants deposit correctly, as well as the impending energy efficiency requirements which come in April 2018, which will affect all new lettings where the property has an energy efficiency rating on less than E.
While it is hoped that the October announcement to regulate the private sector will help tidy up various laws and obligations if landlords are finding themselves in difficulty with keeping up with the changes then it is best to get an agent involved who are ARLA Propertymark or RICS firms.
Rachel Kirk is at Fisher German's office in Chester