The government recently announced the Fairer Private Rented Sector white paper, which it says is the biggest shake-up in 30 years in the rights and conditions for tenants in the sector.
Two areas likely to cause some of the biggest shake-ups for landlords are the ban on Section 21 “no-fault” evictions and the extension of the Decent Homes Standard to the private rental sector, which landlords need to be prepared for.
Why is the government introducing changes?
The rental sector has seen sustained and considerable growth, with 4.4 million households (equating to more than 11 million people) now living in rented accommodation. As part of its levelling-up plan, the government want to tackle the inequalities it sees between landlords and tenants and bring rented accommodation up to acceptable standards for all.
A ban on Section 21 no fault evictions
In 2018, Citizens Advice found tenants receiving a Section 21 eviction notice were five times more likely to have recently made a complaint to their council than those who hadn’t. The government wants tenants to feel able to draw attention to bad landlords or sub-standard accommodation and is introducing the ban so that landlords can no longer terminate tenancies without a specific reason.
The government also believes that this change will help reduce the financial burden tenants incur each time they have to move by ensuring they aren’t forced to do so unnecessarily. This is likely to have a significant impact as 22% of private renters who moved in 2019 and 2020 didn’t end their tenancy by choice.
To deliver these changes, Section 21 evictions will be abolished, and a single system of periodic tenancies will be introduced, replacing the current Assured Tenancy or Assured Shorthold Tenancy schemes. Under them, tenants will need to give two months’ notice to end their tenancy, and landlords can only evict in reasonable circumstances, which will be defined in law.
Extension of the Decent Home Standards
The government also wants to halve the number of ‘non-decent’ rented homes by 2030. The requirement for private sector rental properties to meet the Decent Homes Standard, already covering the public sector, is an integral part of achieving this.
To be considered decent, a property must be free from serious health and safety hazards, such as falls and carbon monoxide poisoning, must be kept in a good state of repair and have clean, appropriate and useable facilities. Decent noise insulation is also required. Homes that are too hot or cold, damp or mouldy, will not be acceptable.
With 1.6 million people living in low-quality homes, there is plenty of work to be done in this area. Landlords and letting agents must look carefully at the Decent Homes Standards and review their properties to ensure they meet and retain the required standards.
What do landlords need to do?
Many landlords already take their responsibilities to protect the wellbeing of their tenants seriously, but the changes outlined in the fairer private rented sector white paper mean systems need to be put in place to ensure properties are being maintained and that landlords have collected the information they need to support an eviction.
Services such as mid-term property reports and estate and block management will be vital tools for landlords and letting agents in helping them meet their obligations and prepare for the changes that need to start now.
Protecting yourself with No Letting Go
If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your inventory partner, reducing your workload and costs by protecting you from unfair claims, then contact No Letting Go today.
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