New laws have been put in place to place to protect homeowners, landlords and tenants. Here's a breakdown of what has changed.
1. Ground rent ban
Ground rent is money tenants pay their landlord to occupy the land a lease property is built on. You don’t have to pay any ground rent unless the landlord has formally asked for it.
Due to loopholes in some new build lease contracts, landlords can increase ground rent without offering any benefit to the tenants.
One of the new laws being put in place means ground rent charges are to be banned on new builds.
Tenants may still have to pay a small fixed amount of ground rent, but this fixed rate would not increase at any point during their lease.
2. Eviction notice periods reduced to four months
During the pandemic, notice periods were extended to six months as an emergency measure to safeguard tenants unable to keep up with rental payments.
This has been reduced to four months as the government look to balance support for renters and landlords.
For serious cases involving anti-social behaviour or a build-up of high rent arrears, this timeframe will be lower.
Because 45% of private landlords own just one property, they are extremely vulnerable to rent arrears, especially when they rely on tenants’ payments to pay their own bills.
3. More rights for pet owners
Previously, it was seen as the default option that rental properties did not allow pets. Updates to the modal tenancy agreement mean that this is no longer the case.
Consent for pets will be assumed and landlords will have to object to a written pet request within 28 days. To reject the tenant's pet request, a valid reason must be given.
This may include property size or surrounding issues, such as the property being in a block of flats.
4. Mandatory electrical checks for tenants
Mandatory electrical checks ensure that the property is safe for tenants to live in.
These inspections must be carried out every five years by law.
Once carried out, the electrical installation condition report will highlight any urgent work needed to ensure the property is safe.
Landlords who don’t carry out any repairs highlighted in the report will face a fine of up to £30,000.
5. Lifetime deposit
Ministers are considering introducing deposit passports to make renting easier.
This would mean renters could 'passport' deposits electronically, instead of having to pay a deposit for their next property while waiting for a refund from their former landlord.
Passporting would allow a direct transfer of funds from the previous landlord to the new one on the day of the move.
The previous landlord would still be able to claim part of the deposit for any damages, if necessary.
For more information or guidance, contact our team.