There were a number of important Government announcements this month relating to the private rented sector.
From the How to Rent guide being updated to new fee ban legislation, catch up on the key announcements you need to be aware of as a landlord here.
How to Rent guide updated
The How to Rent guide in England was updated on the last day of May. The update reflects the changes bought in by the Tenant Fees Act, which came into force on 1st June (see below for more on this).
Landlords and letting agents must give the updated version of the guide to tenants if the tenancy was executed on or after the 31st May 2019, and it must also be given for any tenancy that becomes statutory periodic after that date.
What is the How to Rent guide?
The ‘How to Rent’ guide was introduced in England as part of the Deregulation Act 2015. It forms the ‘prescribed information’. Failure to do so could even mean that landlords are unable to evict tenants using a Section 21 notice.
You can see our How to Rent guide archive here, including a link to the latest version, and for more information about the implications of this, read a blog written by our policy director David Smith.
Tenant fees ban now in force in England
The Tenant Fees Act came into force on 1st June 2019. The tenant fees ban is wide ranging and effectively bans most fees from being charged, aside from rent, security deposits, holding deposits and charges for defaulting on a contract-though these are subject to certain restrictions.
At the moment, the fee ban applies to any new tenancy signed on or after 1st June 2019, and also applies to renewals of tenancies, excluding statutory and contractual periodic tenancies that arise after the Tenant Fees Act comes into force.
So, tenancies that were signed before June 1st 2019, even if the tenants move in after that date, may continue to charge fees as normal until the end of the transition period.
From June 2020, the transition period will end and it will apply to all tenancies in England. For more on the fee ban, check out the RLA’s toolkit here. As well as this, the RLA has updated its tenancy agreements to reflect the fee ban.
The tenant fees ban will not come into force in Wales until September. Landlords with further questions can give our advice team a call on
03330 142 998.
Conservative party leadership contest: final two candidates are announced
At the end of June, the final two Conservative party leadership candidates were announced; Boris Johnson MP and Jeremy Hunt MP. A few days after this was announced, the RLA together with JCWI and 3million collectively urged both of the candidates to scrap the controversial Right to Rent scheme.
It comes following a High Court ruling earlier this year, which ruled that the Right to Rent scheme causes discrimination against British ethnic minorities.
Selective licensing review results published
Also this month, the results of an independent review into selective licensing were published. The report includes proposals for a national register of landlords. The RLA is concerned with the recommendation, warning that it will push up costs and increase red tape for those landlords providing good quality homes to rent, while criminal landlords providing sub-standard or dangerous homes simply ignore the requirement and continue to operate below the radar. Read more on this here.
RLA Fair Possession coalition
This month the RLA also brought together landlords and letting agents’ groups at a summit in London to form the Fair Possessions Coalition, to address government plans to abolish Section 21. In all 18 groups and individuals have united in warning plans to abolish Section 21 repossessions WITHOUT a new system in place would undermine investment in the sector at a time when private landlords are relied upon on to provide homes for one in five households in England. Read more about this here.
RLA campaigning this month
As well as the announcements and changes listed above, it has also been a busy month for our policy team.
Last month we announced that more than 6000 landlords had their say on possession reform in our survey-an RLA record. A few weeks ago our policy director David Smith attended the All Party Parliamentary Group for the private rented sector, representing landlords on key issues, such as the Government’s proposed changes to Section 21.
Also this month, our policy manager John Stewart attended high level talks at Downing Street on ending discrimination against housing benefits claimants. The meeting came just months after the government announced letting adverts which potentially discriminate against would-be tenants on housing benefit should end. You can read more on this here.
Towards the start of this month, our Vice Chair Chris Town and Vice Chair and Director for Wales Douglas Haig met with the Work and Pensions Minister Will Quince MP. It was a productive meeting on the subject of Universal Credit.
Join the RLA to keep up to date with all of our campaigning work, through our weekly campaigns and media review, exclusively for members.