Private Rental Sector – changes afoot and my new Report!

publication date: Feb 2, 2015
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

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Changes afoot in the Private Rental Sector

There is a lot happening in the PRS at the moment. So whether you are a landlord, letting agent or tenant, it’s worth keeping your eye on the news to see what changes are going to be announced that will affect you over the coming months.

Read - How to Rent a Property Checklist

Ones to look out for include announcements from politicians, which could make the difference about who you vote for, depending on your circumstances and which region you live in or your properties are in as the housing policies and laws are now different in the PRS depending on whether you are in N.Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland.

  1. Changes to checks for tenants from abroad – at the moment these only have to be made in the West Midlands, but it’s likely to be required across the rest of England in 2015

  2. There are lots of policies being recommended, especially by Labour for those in the private rental sector, including rent controls, banning letting fees and potentially increased taxes and reduced tax breaks for landlords, so it’s essential you keep up to speed with what’s happening.

  3. Changes in Wales are two-fold. Firstly as a landlord you need to let certain welsh water companies know your tenants details so they can follow up with them if they default on water bills. Secondly there are new rules coming in which mean you cannot as a landlord just let and manage a property, you need to:-

    • Be licensed

    • Go on a course or let through an ARLA/RICs or NALs agent

  4. Scotland are looking to introduce a new contract which will give tenants more power to stay in a property for longer

  5. Northern Ireland landlords need to make sure they register now or by 25th February 2015 if there are no new tenancies or changes to existing tenancies.” Bear in mind not registering can mean you end up paying £2,500 penalty.

Read - Tenancy Deposit Scheme Checklist

My new report on the Private Rental Sector
Last year I was concerned at some of the rhetoric against landlords and letting agents and the culture being driven by reports on the PRS of ‘them and us’ with the market being one of tenants versus landlords and letting agents. For me this doesn’t exist in the majority of cases.

Most landlords and letting agents want exactly the same as tenants – a roof over the tenants head which is safe for them to rent and they pay their rent on time, reporting any major property problems so they can be fixed.

What tenants want is a roof over their head for the time they want to rent for, be it for the six month minimum or longer and it’s possible to have a 12 month contract or a three year one (of which one is provided by the government). Unfortunately it’s the lenders, not the landlords or letting agents that dictate the contract terms in the main for tenancies. Mortgage companies want six month maximum rental timeframes so if the tenant isn’t paying the rent, their liability is limited as they can get the property back quickly, especially if the landlord can’t afford the repayments due to a lack of rent.

Read - Choosing a Letting Agent Checklist

To make sure there is an independent report, taking all stakeholders into account, I’ve produced a new report which will be available from 4th February 2015 to read.

For more information and a copy of the report, please Contact Us.

All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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