Lettings Market Brief: "Change for good" in the Lettings Industry
As we head towards Spring, there's a feeling that ‘change is in the air’ for the Lettings Industry. There are several key pieces of new legislation set to come into effect this Spring which will, we believe, have a long-term positive impact on the industry.
The most widely talked about piece of legislation is the Tenant Fee Ban which we now know will definitely become law on 1st June this year. As I explained last month, this is likely to increase rent prices in the short term as agents and landlords look to cover their costs. However, it will put a stop to un-reputable agents charging extortionate referencing fees to tenants and will hopefully see them fall by the wayside.
A piece of Legislation which has had less attention is the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 which will come into force on 20th March and will apply to new tenancies (of less than 7 years) including a renewal of an existing tenancy from then.
The Act will mean that landlords have a legal obligation to ensure their property is habitable, otherwise tenants will have the right to take legal action against them. Potential hazards such as mould and damp, exposed wiring, and poor security could all be classed as making the property uninhabitable.
Our advice to existing landlords is to always work with a proactive, reputable agent that carries out regular property inspections and encourages an open dialogue with tenants. Being aware of any potential problems, and eradicating them before they become serious, will be even more important once the Act is in force. It is also worth bearing this new Act in mind if you’re looking to invest in a buy-to-let property that needs remedial works – the amount you need to invest may increase.
Once again, this new legislation is helping to improve tenant rights and make the industry as a whole safer and better regulated – this can only be a good thing for all concerned.
If you would like advice on your existing property portfolio, or are considering buy-to-let, please call our dedicated lettings team on 01904 629629.