The Government has now published more details of its Renters’ Reform Bill, which has been widely touted as one of the biggest shake-ups in the private rental sector for many years. Maunder Taylor are experts in residential property management in Hertfordshire and North London and we take a keen interest in all issues which affect landlords and tenants. Here we examine some of the key points of the proposed legislation – and the new Social Housing Regulation Bill.
The Quality of Accommodation
The Decent Homes Standard will now be extended to the private rental sector for the first time. This means tenants will have legal right to a ‘safe and warm’ home which is fit for human habitation. Landlords will also have a duty to keep homes in a good state of repair so that renters have ‘clean, appropriate and useable’ facilities.
It also means that private landlords can no longer benefit from taxpayer money for renting out low-quality homes, slashing the £3 billion a year in housing benefit that is estimated to go to landlords.
The End of ‘No-Fault’ Evictions
As widely predicted, the Bill aims to bring an end to tenants who find themselves effectively homeless even if they have complied with all the terms of their lease. Section 21 evictions – also known as ‘no-fault’ evictions – will be outlawed under the terms of the Bill.
However, it should also help landlords to evict tenants who are wilfully not paying rent or who are repeatedly engaging in anti-social behaviour. If there are any disputes, then these can be referred to a new Private Renters’ Ombudsman, who will have the powers to settle any disagreements between landlords and tenants without the matter going to court.
Property and Pets
One clause which was not widely predicted to form part of the Bill was one giving tenants with pets greater rights. Landlords will not be allowed ‘unreasonably’ withhold consent when a tenant asks to be allowed to have a pet in their home. The tenant will also be able to challenge any decision about it.
It does also mean that The Tenant Fees Act 2019 will be amended to all pet insurance as a ‘permitted payment’. This means landlords will be able to require tenants to take out pet insurance so that any damage to their property caused by the pet is covered.
A New Property Portal
The Bill also aims to introduce a new property portal. This will help landlords to understand their legal obligations better, give tenants ‘performance information’ to hold their landlord to account and, in the case of local authority housing, help councils crack down on poor practice.
This, and all the other elements above, were announced in a White Paper last month. They will now go out to consultation with the property sector before a final version is presented to, and voted on, in Parliament.
Renters in Social Housing
The Government also introduced a new Social Housing Regulation Bill this month. Prompted in part by the Grenfell Tower fire of 2017, this Bill means that:
- A Regulator of Social Housing will have stronger powers to enter properties (at just 48 hours’ notice, rather than the current 28 days) and make emergency repairs where there is a ‘serious risk’ to tenants, with landlords footing the bill. This is roughly equivalent to a school’s Ofsted inspection.
- Tenants will be able to demand information on their landlords and rate them as part of new ‘satisfaction’ measures. They will also form part of a 250-strong residents’ panel which will meet three times a year with ministers, sharing their experiences
- Landlords will have to nominate a named individual who is responsible for meeting all the health and safety requirements at the property
- Failure to comply with their obligations means landlords could face unlimited fines.
Residential Property Management in Hertfordshire and London with Maunder Taylor
Maunder Taylor have represented landlords and tenants in many different situations over the years – including commercial as well as domestic properties. Whether you are an owner or a leaseholder, you can rely on us for independent, impartial advice. If you want a property valuation survey in Totteridge, business insurance valuations in Barnet or advice on commercial property investment in North London, we should be your first port of call.
If you would like to know more about any of our services, follow this link and fill in the online form or call us on 020 8446 0011. For any residential block management queries, call 01707 665 666.