Changes In Legislation Over The Past 12 Months In The Rental Sector (COVID-19)
Regardless, or perhaps because of, the uncertainty that surrounds us, the property rental market in and around Tunbridge Wells remains robust and we are finding that for every property that we list we will have a choice of several good applicants within a very short time. Recent statistics also tell us that annual rents are up by 2.9% nationally since July last year and that the average time it takes to rent a local property is about 15 days. Generally, we are finding that demand is very high from applicants wanting to move out of London, not only taking advantage of the area’s open spaces but also having found that home-working is much more congenial.
As an agent we have dealt with numerous -and often unexpected- changes to legislation over the last year, and have kept our clients updated accordingly. The major changes were:
For the second time this year, the Government brought in legislation to extend the amount of notice required. Currently, Landlords must give tenants six months’ notice to evict them from their properties and for a new tenancy a Landlord could not expect to gain possessing for the first eleven months of the tenancy at least. The extended notice period will be in effect until at least the end of March 2021 to give Tenants the security of knowing that they can stay at their property over the winter. The exception to this “winter truce” is in serious cases involving antisocial behaviour or rent arrears of over six months.
The courts reopened on 21st September to hear possession cases, having been shut since the first lockdown in March. There was a huge backlog of administration so cases such as those involving extreme antisocial behaviour or for cases that pre-dated Lockdown have been prioritised. Landlords will also need to provide the courts and judges with information on how tenants circumstances have been affected by Covid 19.
These new regulations require landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every 5 years. Landlords have to provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants, and to their local authority if requested and could face fines of up to £30,000 if they fail to comply. This means that all landlords now have to do what good landlords already do: make sure the electrical installations in their rented properties are safe. The regulations applied to new and renewed tenancies from 1 July 2020 and will apply to all existing tenancies from 1 April 2021.
For more information on the ever-changing legislation that landlords and agents face, send me an email or give us a call on 01892 533 367 to find out more.