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Rental Update for Beaconsfield November 2021

Renters Reform Bill
The government announced further delays on the White Paper, now expected sometime in 2022, due to allowing more time for policy development and to carry on engagement with the sector. They also confirmed it will provide time to carefully consider the findings of the National Audit Office’s review of the regulation of the sector. Frustrating for Landlords and Agents having to continue waiting for information on lifetime deposits, banning of Section 21s and remodelling of the Section 8 notices.

Energy Efficiency News
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In a Rightmove webinar this week, hosted by the Legal & Compliance Director David Cox, we learnt of a pre-announcement of the new EPC regulations for the PRS. Previously forecast to start 2025 we now understand that as part of the Government’s commitment for net-zero emissions by 2050, the law will come into effect in 2026 for all new tenancies, with a backstop date of 2028. Under the new law, all private rented properties must obtain an Energy Performance Rating of Band C or above. Landlords will be required to pay for energy improvements and fines for non-compliance have been set at £15,000 per property. Average costs to Landlords will be circa £5,000 per property to improve the energy rating if they currently fall below a Band C, with a cap at £10,000. It is estimated the cost to the sector will be in the region of £13bn. The government announced it will give more help to Landlords with properties in areas that attain lower than average rents. Exemptions under the new regulation have not been announced at this point however David suspects Superior Landlord Consent could be unchanged from the current exemption list.

Autumn Budget 2021

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As reported in my last newsletter, we have a new government department for housing headed by Michael Gove called the ‘Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ (DLUHC). Chris Pincher remains Housing Minister, Eddie Hughes has been brought in as deputy minister. There will be a split of responsibilities. Eddie Hughes will have the private rental sector as part of the split. Government grant funding was also announced including affordability housing programme, brownfield development, unsafe cladding, home upgrade grants and the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

Tenant Fees Act – update

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As a landlord, you are no doubt aware of the charges that cannot be borne by Tenants under the act. Permitted Payments only include rent, deposit, loss of key replacement, variation of contract (capped at £50 inc VAT), unpaid rent interest (capped at 3% above BoE rate), and Landlord costs for early termination of the contract. It is important to note, to the latter permitted payment, that agents and landlords cannot claim monies for their time. And any costs must be identified as ‘reasonable’.

One area that always poses problems will be requesting a clause in the contract asking the tenant to professionally clean property at the end of their tenancy. This in fact has been an unfair clause for many decades, however under the Act this is not a permitted clause and to avoid the term ‘betterment’, a tenant should only return the property in the same condition as at the start of their tenancy. Landlords/Agents must be evident the property was professionally cleaned at the inventory check-in, to claim any monies from the deposit if necessary.  Read more about assessing deposit deductions at the end of the tenancy here.

If you have any questions at all about the Private Rental Sector in Beaconsfield, I’d love to hear from you so just get in touch with me on 01494 685514 or email me ClaireW@ashingtonpage.co.uk.  You can find out all about our landlord services HERE.

See you in December!

Claire Woodrow is the lettings manager at Ashington Page

Claire Woodrow, Lettings Manager