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Landlord Law Newsround #211 – The Landlord Law Blog

Welcome to this weeks Newsround which starts with some welcome news for landlords:

Pre-covid eviction notice periods to return from 1 October

This means that if you are looking to serve a notice on your tenant, you should wait until 1 October 2021 to serve your notice as the expiry date with then be sooner.

For example, section 21 notices currently have a notice period of 4 months whereas from 1 October it will go back to being 2 months.  If you have served notice recently it may also be worth re-serving it after October 1.

Generation Rent are, needless to say, unhappy about this and are asking people to write to their MPs about it.  Also on Tuesday 14 September, a group of renters will be going to Parliament to make demands.  If you want to join them, contact details are on this article.

I should point out though that article is misleading when saying ‘Landlords will once again be able to evict renters for no reason, with just two months’ notice’.  The two months notice is for issuing proceedings, which will normally take months to get through the courts.  Tenants are NOT at risk of actually having to leave their homes immediately after the two month notice period ends.

Any tenants who receive an eviction notice should read the Renters Guide article here.

Government considering planning consent for AirBnB short lets

The Government is considering requiring landlords of short or holiday lets to apply for planning permission first. This may be used as a way to curb the growing trend of landlords renting properties to holiday-makers rather than local people in more tourist-focused parts of the country, such as Cornwall and Devon.

The trend has caused a decrease in available rental properties in particular in holiday spots and a price hike for those properties which are available making life difficult for low-income families.

This requirement would not retrospective but would apply to existing landlords who intend switching to short lets.

This is one of three proposals which the Housing secretary is currently considering, the others being a ban on new-build homes being sold as holiday properties and an increase in the portion of houses being built being designated as ‘affordable’.

Cleaning is still the biggest issue in tenancy deposit disputes – TDS

Surprisingly, considering the increased issues with rent arrears since the start of the pandemic, cleaning is still the single largest reason why tenancy deposit disputes occur at the end of tenancy, according to TDS.

According to TDS figures, cleaning was at the heart of 49% of deposit dispute issues in 2020/2021. Rental arrears was lower than some may expect with only 15% of disputes being caused by arrears.

In addition to this, tenancies, in general, were less likely to end in a dispute this year than in previous years, as only 0.7% ended in dispute compared to 0.85% in 2019/20. TDS chief executive Steve Harriott says the drop is ‘most likely down to the pandemic’ with fewer tenants moving.

It is interesting to note that tenants are by far and away the largest majority starting end of tenancy disputes, with 75% of disputes compared to just 7% started by landlords.

National Audit Office Criticises Government’s Green Homes Grant scheme

The Government’s Green Home Grant scheme has been criticised by the way it collapsed last year by the financial watchdog service. In March 2020, it was revealed that £1.5  billion would be used for the ‘green homes grant’ programme which would allow landlords to claim for the installation of energy-efficient improvements. This is part of the government plans to make all rental properties by 2025 have a minimum Energy Performance Certificate rating of ‘C’.

However, the scheme has been not had the desired effect with the programme ending with no notice and landlords often having a poor experience in applying for the grant as well.

NAO labelled the scheme as

Overly Ambitious… and was not executed to an acceptable standard, significantly limiting its impact on job creation and carbon reduction

The Government expected that the grant scheme would support 82,500 jobs over six months and allow around 600,000 households to save up to £600 on their energy bills. However, it has fallen well short of that.

In addition to this, around 3000 complaints were made about the process between October 2020 to April 2021, with some landlords having delays in the grants as well as find it challenging to complete the application form.

It’s generally accepted that the government have made a total Horlicks of this but hopefully, it will be replaced by something it bit better organised – if they want landlords to be able to do the necessary works.

Government rejects last weeks call to allow landlords to charge a ‘pet deposit’

Last weeks call by a cross-party group to allow landlords to charge pet deposits has been rejected by the government. In Newsround 210, we reported on the proposed change to the Tenant Fees Act which would allow tenants to take out pet damage insurance.

However, in a written reply by junior housing minister Eddie Hughes argued that the current framework set out within the Tenant Fees Act 2019 is sufficient enough as it allows landlords the ability to charge tenants an additional deposit.

Hughes replied:

The five week cap should be considered the maximum, rather than the default amount charged. This approach should therefore accommodate private renters who wish to keep pets, without the need for a separate pet deposit.’

I very much doubt that this will be the end of it though.  Plus, I suspect that if the Telegraph were to write a leader on the subject, Boris would tell Ministers to change their minds.

Good EPC rating does not add market appreciation to the selling price of a property reveals study

A recent report by Nationwide has revealed that significant improvements made to the EPC rating of a property will likely not be rewarded if the property is sold. The Survey showed that there is only a 1.7% house price premium on properties with an EPC rating of A or B compared to a property with a rating of ‘D’

However, with that being said, the report did clarify that this change will likely increase over time, especially if the government continues to take measures to incentivise greater energy efficiency in rental properties.

Snippets

Newsround will be back next week.

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