The lettings industry has always been governed by a lot of different legislation and every day there seems to be something else added to the list!
We saw the Tenant Fees Act introduced on 1st June 2019. This has caused a lot of additional work for everyone with the restrictions it imposes. Although here at Green Door, we put a lot of preparation in before the Act was introduced, so two months’ down the line we have made all the necessary changes and made sure our clients are aware of the what can and can’t be done.
The government have now proposed abolition of section 21 notices, a review of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and Regulation of Property Agents.
Section 21 notices can be used where the tenancy is an AST and where the landlord needs possession of their property, but in circumstances where the tenant is not in breach of tenancy – so called “no fault evictions”. The government are proposing to strengthen the mandatory grounds upon which a landlord can rely to evict their tenants and also speed up the court process in order for possession to be granted if it gets that far.
The review of the HHSRS is an attempt at identifying a simpler means of banding the results of HHSRS assessments. Currently there are 29 identifiable hazards which fit into 4 main groups. The government are considering the amalgamation and/or removal of some of the existing hazard profiles in order to make it simpler for landlords to ensure they comply.
The Regulation of Property Agents outlines clear proposals for raising professional standards across the industry through mandatory regulation and qualification. These fall into three key aims: qualifications, overarching code of practice, regulation and licencing of agents. It is likely that agents will need to have a qualification of at least level 3 ARLA Technical Award (equivalent to an A level), the overarching code of practice will give specific more detailed codes for each sector and licensing will be for both the individual qualifications and also companies. This will include Anti Money Laundering, Client Money Protection, Public Liability Insurance and being a member of a redress scheme.
Green Door can take the stress out of keeping on top of the changes and updates in legislation. Being a member of ARLA Propertymark we already have to adhere to strict codes of practice which are above and beyond the industry standard. We also have access to industry updates as and when they happen with the use of a legal helpline when those unexpected queries arise.