From the Renters Reform Bill to the effect Brexit will have on Right to Rent, we cover the hot issues and what we’re expecting to see across the year. If we manage your property for you, then this is just for your information, but if you manage your own, you may need to take action.
- Right to Rent. For EEA citizens, a valid passport or national ID card is enough to prove their right to rent until 30th June 2021. For a full list of accepted documents under the most recent legislative changes, see the Home Office user guide.
- Eviction rules. Under the present temporary legislation, in England you have to give a tenant 6 months’ notice to leave if you’re serving a Section 21, although less notice is required for a Section 8. Since September the eviction ban has allowed evictions to go ahead in exceptional circumstances, such as when tenants are behaving anti-socially or were sitting on extreme levels of rent arrears. These arrears were formerly defined as equivalent to nine month’s rent, but debt accrued since the first lockdown in March was not allowed to be included. On 8th January legislation changed to reduce this so that arrears were equivalent to six month’s rent and most crucially, now include debt accrued during the pandemic.
We don’t know yet whether a notice period of more than two months will continue to apply once the pandemic is over, but this is something that will probably be addressed in the Renters’ Reform Bill.
- Renters’ Reform Bill. The Government has committed to ending Section 21 repossessions and will be bringing this Bill forward at a ‘sensible’ point following the coronavirus emergency response. As well as scrapping Section 21, the Bill also proposes:
- improving the court process to make it easier for landlords to regain possession
- introducing a ‘lifetime deposit’ that will move with the tenant
- expanding access to and the scope of the database of rogue landlords and agents.
- Mandatory 5-year electrical checks. From 1st April 2021, all Private Rental Sector properties in England will be subject to a full inspection of the electrical installations every five years. The rules came into force for new tenancies on 1st July 2020, but landlords with existing tenancies must comply with the legislation by next April. A copy of the written report must be given to the tenant. Any further investigations or required repairs must be completed by a qualified person within 28 days. If you manage your own property and have an existing tenancy that began before 1st July, we’d suggest you book a check as soon as possible. There’s currently a huge demand and reliable electricians are likely to have a waiting list.