The past few years have seen the private rental sector in a state of flux, with new legislation being proposed regularly to try to improve standards. Now that we’re entering 2018, some of these proposed changes are likely to start coming to fruition, meaning there will shortly be new legislation coming into force that all landlords and agents will need to adhere to. Here’s a summary of some of the challenges landlords may face in 2018.
Energy Efficiency Standards
From the 01 April 2018, it will be a legal requirement for any properties currently being rented out in the private rental sector to have a minimum energy performance rating of ‘E’ on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This will apply to any new lets and tenancy renewals from 01 April 2018, and for all existing tenancies by 01 April 2020. If landlords fail to adhere to this new legislation, they could face fines of up to £4000.
Electrical safety checks
In November 2017, the government proposed mandatory electrical checks for buy to let properties to improve safety standards for tenants nationwide. If the legislation passes, it will likely mean that landlords will need to conduct these electrical checks every five years, at an estimated cost of around £50 per property. This would align buy to let properties safety standards with those already in place for houses in multiple occupation (HMO).
The tenant fee ban
The tenant fee ban has been at the forefront of all landlord’s and letting agent’s minds throughout 2017 as plans have become clearer and more imminent. The draft bill has now been published by the government, and essentially bans all tenant fees unless they are specifically allowed under the stated rules. Landlords that breach the tenant fee ban could face fines of up to £5000, or even criminal charges for repeat offences.
Some of the expected changes include:
- Capping holding deposits
- Amending existing legislation so that online property portals (such as Rightmove) are subject to the same transparency laws as letting agents
- Appointing trading standards teams to oversee the tenant fee ban
- Formalising a process that would enable tenants to recover unlawfully charged fees
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