Over the past few years there have been many changes to the laws and legislation that apply to the property rental sector. It is vital that landlords are to speed with the new laws and legislation and comply with them fully or they could risk facing substantial penalties punishments.
During 2019 a ban on tenancy fees was introduced which means that landlords now face the cost of getting references and performing inventory checks on furnished properties. In some cases, those fees were built into the rental charge, however this can only be done within the boundaries of the market to remain competitive. At the same time, restrictions on the size of a rental deposit were brought in that limited the amount to 5 weeks rent for properties with a rent under £50,000 per year and 6 weeks for more expensive properties.
There is ongoing consultation in the UK about a standard 3-year tenancy term – as is already the case in Scotland - which would offer greater security to tenants and a more predictable income for landlords. At present, more than 80% of rental contracts are a minimum fixed term of six to twelve months although government data shows that on average people remain in a rented property for nearly four years.
Following the introduction of ‘The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act’, landlords can face harsh sentences if they are found to be providing tenants with inadequate living conditions. Renters can sue their landlords over failing to properly maintain properties if they are deemed ‘unfit’ to live in.
This change is highly beneficial for tenants as it means that landlords must provide a higher standard of accommodation. Under the act, rental properties should not be damp or affected by mould.
Changes to the Section 21 notice process of eviction mean that private landlords can no longer evict tenants from their homes without good reason. There has been some concern registered about the ability to deal with tenants who have mistreated a rental property.
Landlords should ensure that they have updated contracts with their tenants and should also consider reviewing the quality of accommodation within their portfolio to ensure that any properties are well ventilated and maintained to avoid issues with damp and mould.
Ensuring that properties are well ventilated will reduce the appearance of damp and prevent many causes of mould. This has benefits for both landlords and tenants.
Tenants benefit from a more pleasant domestic environment which will be healthier and more energy efficient throughout the year, while landlords will benefit from a property which is less prone to damp related damage that could require costly redecoration or rebuilding in the future if damage is allowed to spread.
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