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How a letting agent can help..

2021 came with it, a huge amount of opportunity for new landlords, but  it also delivered a whole raft of new legislation they must comply with.  So, if you’re thinking of investing in property for the first time this year, what can you expect?

The Renters Reform Bill: What it will mean for landlords

The Renters Reform Bill has actually been on the agenda for some time, first coming to the attention of landlords during the Queen’s Speech in December 2019.

With the disruption caused by the Pandemic, things have slowed down, but it’s likely the Bill will be heard this year, however, with two major changes likely to impact UK landlords.

The end of section 21

Currently, landlords can regain possession of their rental properties at the end of a fixed term tenancy agreement or during a periodic tenancy.

Those ‘no fault’ evictions, however, will no longer be available to landlords if and when the Renters Reform Bill becomes law.

The Bill will see the removal of section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, which allows landlords to take back their properties without a specific reason for doing so.

Instead, landlords will need to regain possession of their properties through the court system and a revised section 8 of the Act, which requires a specific reason for the eviction. The proposals for section 8 would see an improved court process and enable landlords to get their properties back quicker.

The introduction of lifetime deposits

Under current rules, tenants must provide a new deposit for each tenancy they take on – often having to stump up a large sum of money while waiting for their previous deposit to be returned.

Under the Renters Reform Bill, a tenant’s deposit would travel with them from tenancy to tenancy, meaning they no longer have to save for a new deposit when moving home. It remains unclear how landlords will lodge those deposits with one of three tenancy deposit protection schemes, however – something they must do within 30 days of a tenancy beginning.

Electrical safety regulations

Mandatory electrical safety certificates have been in place for landlords renting out Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) for some time.

And since July 1, 2020, Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs) have been a legal requirement for all new tenancies starting after that date.

Landlords must provide a copy of their property’s EICR to tenants within 28 days of it being carried out. From April 1, 2021, all tenancies in England will require a valid EICR regardless of when they started.

Changes to Right to Rent

As well as coronavirus, the other major dose of uncertainty to hit the property market in recent years was, of course, Brexit.

And while the UK’s exit from the European Union is now finally complete, there are still some unanswered questions for landlords.

One of those is around Right to Rent checks, where landlords are required to check the immigration status of tenants from overseas.

As part of Brexit, the UK is now operating a points-based immigration process, and this is certain to change the requirements of Right to Rent as we move through 2021.

For now, though, current landlords will need to keep checking passport and national identity card documentation when renting to foreign tenants.

What is a private landlord?

A private landlord is a property investor who chooses to rent out that property themselves, rather than through a letting agent.

While becoming a private landlord means you won’t have to pay letting agent management fees, it also means you’re responsible for ensuring your property complies with more than 160 pieces of legislation.

That’s quite a burden and it’s easy to make mistakes that could result in the health and safety of your tenants being compromised and you facing heavy fines, or even prison.

How a letting agent could help

Making sure you’re on top of those 160 pieces of lettings legislation is a key part of being a landlord – but it’s far from easy.

By using a letting agent’s management services, you can be sure that everything is taken care of, your tenants are safe, and you won’t get caught out by any new legislation that comes into force