A recap of what 2015 looked like for letting agents and what to expect from 2016
The private rented sector has consistently accelerated over the past few years; back in 2014 the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association predicted that if the market trends continued over 50% of UK homes would be rented by 2032. While this is good news for you letting agents, that growth also comes with additional rules and regulations that mean your workload is on the up, too.
Before we look at what the future has in store for letting agents, let’s have a recap of what 2015 brought to the table (most notably, the Deregulation Act 2015 – and its penalties).
- In May, it became mandatory for all letting agents to disclose their full fee tariff (from 23 November 2015), highlight which redress scheme they were part of, and make clear whether they offered client money protection – all in the name of greater transparency for landlords and tenants
- In June, letting agents were obliged under the Deregulation Act to protect deposits taken pre-6 April 2007 under one of three Property Redress Schemes
- HMRC demanded agents to provide a list of landlords they had collected rent for
- Selective licensing schemes were introduced to certain areas of the UK
- In October, all rented properties were required to have a regularly checked carbon monoxide alarm and smoke alarms on every floor
- In October, the Deregulation Act was at it again, restricting the ability of a landlord to serve a section 21 notice if they or their letting agent didn’t handle repair requests properly
2016 could bring many additional regulations or requirements that we’re not yet aware of, but for now, here’s what you can expect.
- From 1 February, the Immigration Act 2014 and Immigration Bill 2015 will enforce the Right to Rent requirement for letting agents (and landlords) allowing a tenancy in England to carry out ID checks on all adult occupiers prior to the start of the tenancy
- Letting agents (and landlords) will have to carry out energy improvements to rented properties at the request of tenants
Although the ever-changing rules of the private rented market seem to continuously place additional burdens upon letting agents, it’s for good reason (like decreasing the number of rogue traders without the need to hire Dom Littlewood, making the process clearer and safer for landlords and tenants, and increasing compliance and safety).
The new Right to Rent requirements are particularly significant and will carry hefty penalties if obligations aren’t met. The research and administrative side of this will be time-consuming, but you don’t have to be concerned about these responsibilities taking you away from your day job.
LegalforLandlords already offers comprehensive tenant referencing services – which saves you the time you could be spending renting to potential tenants – but is also launching a new service ahead of 1 February 2016 called Validate. This is designed to manage the research and administrative side of your Right to Rent duties, like verifying VISAs, passports and identity documents on your behalf, so you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re on the right side of the law.
To find out more about this new service and make sure you’re set for 2016, give us a ring on 0333 577 9050.