The government has been busy making new legislation and regulations for the private rented sector. Here's a quick summary of what's been going on!
Compulsory Client Money Protection came into law on 1 April 2019. As Belvoir have always protected (insured) money in our client account, landlords have always had the reassurance that their rent money is safe regardless of our trading circumstances. We welcome the government's move to make this compulsory across the industry.
The Tenant Fee Ban is coming into force on 1 June 2019 across England. That means tenants cannot be asked to pay towards referencing or for inventories. Also banned will be making it compulsory for tenants to take out tenant liability insurance to protect your property from damage and making it a condition of their tenancy that they professionally clean the house upon leaving. Tenants will only be able to be asked to "clean to a professional standard".
What will it mean for your future re-lets? Who is going to pay for their referencing? The government says that they want to pass all these costs onto landlords and they acknowledge that you may need to increase rents to cover these added costs. We have some plans in place for our Belvoir landlords, which we'll be happy to discuss with our landlords and anyone wanting to transfer a property to us.
Deposits to be capped at 5 weeks rent, coming into force 1 June 2019. We have traditionally taken up to 6 weeks rent. For any tenancy starting 1 June onwards, we will only be able to take 5 weeks deposit. No additional pet deposit will be allowed. 5 weeks is the most we will be allowed to ask. It is currently unclear if we will need to refund the one week "extra" deposit currently held in our Deposit Protection Service account.
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act came into force in March 2019. It doesn't necessarily add more landlord obligations on your shoulders but it makes it easier for the authorities and tenants to identify the 29 keys issues that affect homes and to determine if the home is up to the expected standards of safety. Have a look at the government website for more guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/homes-fitness-for-human-habitation-act-2018/guide-for-landlords-homes-fitness-for-human-habitation-act-2018
Selective Licensing is expected to come into Stoke on Trent for selected streets across the city. We're keeping an eye on the situation. As far as we know, the licensing scheme has not had approval from the Secretary of State, so there's nothing to do for now. We have scanned the proposed streets and identified which landlords will be affected. When the time comes, we will let you know individually if your property will be affected and how to apply for the licence.