Latest update on the Section 21 Reform

The balance of power shifts further towards residential tenants as proposals for radical leasehold reform continues.

The term ‘leasehold reform’ is most commonly being used to refer to the government’s current proposals to rework enfranchisement and commonhold legislation. However, in fact the proposed changes go much deeper into the leasehold system than it might appear, with the most recent consultation focusing upon PRS (Private Rented Sector) in particular.

Let’s remind ourselves of some key dates in the evolution of private sector residential tenancies and the government’s proposed changes.

A brief timeline

1970s

Rent regulation has been around since the First World War and the legislation was eventually consolidated into the Rent Act 1977 which governed most residential tenancies up until 1989. The were some exclusions to this, including lets to limited companies, resident landlords, or those with very high or low rents. These remained ‘common law tenancies’.

Rent Act tenancies were different in three main ways: they were subject to a ‘fair rents’ register; offered long-term security of tenure; and rights of succession.

1980s

However, with the introduction of the Housing Act 1980, it became the Conservative party’s policy to dismantle rent regulation. Regulation for all new tenancies was abolished by the Housing Act 1988, leaving the basic regulatory framework as freedom of contract for the landlord to set any price, thereby leaving rent levels to the market.

Since then most residential tenancies have been assured tenancies, and primarily assured shorthold tenancies, or ASTs.

In addition to paying a market rent, security of tenure was removed by giving the landlord of an AST the right to regain possession of the property at the end of the fixed term (or, if the fixed term is less than six months, six months after the tenancy began), as long as they give two months’ notice (section 21 of the Housing Act 1988).

2018

The current government publishes a consultation paper entitled ‘Overcoming the barriers to longer tenancies in the private rented sector’. The paper notes the following measures that are being introduced, namely:

  • Banning letting fees to tenants and capping tenancy deposits to ensure that tenants have more money in their pockets
  • Insisting that all landlords are members of a redress scheme so that tenants have quick and easy resolution to disputes
  • Ensuring all letting agents are registered and are members of a client money protection scheme to provide assurance to tenants and landlords that their agent is meeting minimum standards

However, they also note that “the change in size and make up of the private rented sector has led to growing need for longer, more secure tenancies than the minimum six months offered by the assured shorthold tenancy regime”. The government accordingly launches a consultation seeking views on longer tenancies in the private rented sector, which proposed a new, three-year tenancy model.

April 2019

The government published its response to the ‘Overcoming the Barriers to Longer Tenancies in the Private Rented Sector’ consultation and announces that for assured shorthold tenancies it ‘will introduce a generational change to the law that governs private renting. This government will put an end to “no-fault” evictions by repealing Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988’.

They identify that it will be important to find a balance between giving tenants greater security whilst ensuring landlords are able to recover their property if needed – ‘We do not want to discourage investment in the sector or affect the supply of good quality rental accommodation’.

Therefore, to ensure landlords have confidence they will be able to end tenancies where they have legitimate reason to do so, it is stated that ‘we will also strengthen the Section 8 possession process, so property owners are able to regain their home should they wish to sell it or move into it’. These will be in addition to the existing grounds which allow landlords to evict tenants who don’t pay the rent or commit anti-social behaviour.

July 2019

On 21 July 2019, the government published a further consultation: A New Deal for Renting: Resetting the balance of rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants.

This consultation confirms that, at the same time as repealing section 21, the government proposes to remove the entire AST regime. This means that in future, the default position will be that a tenancy is a periodic assured tenancy unless the landlord and tenant have agreed a fixed term in writing. A tenant under an assured tenancy may not be evicted unless the landlord can provide grounds (under Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988) or where a break clause has been agreed between the landlord and the tenant.

The consultation closes on 12 October 2019.

What’s next?

Once the consultation closes we can expect draft legislation to effect the government’s proposed reforms.

Interestingly whilst the government moves towards reintroducing security of tenure, the London major Sadiq Khan has confirmed he will demand an overhaul of tenancy laws in a campaign for London rent controls that is set to be the cornerstone of his 2020 re-election campaign.

The government has commented on Khan’s proposal by stating that its proposals to abolish no fault evictions and ending letting fees “will create a housing market that truly works for everyone – in direct contrast to rent controls which could drive responsible landlords out, could reduce investment in high quality housing and ultimately push rents up”.

The good news for tenants is that in the current political climate, both parties appear to have identified a need to redress the balance of power and improve the position of renters.

However, it remains to be seen whether the requirement for a landlord to prove a ground for possession every time they want to terminate a tenancy may well make some reluctant to let out their properties in the first place, reducing the available supply.

The responses to the consultation will certainly make for interesting reading, and both landlords and tenants would be well advised to have their say whilst the government is listening.

Source courtesy of News On The Block

Winter Maintenance for your Development Landscape

Do not slack on apartment landscaping maintenance during winter months or you could be paying an ugly price in the summer.

The winter months do not obviate the need for apartment landscaping maintenance. Giving lawns, plants, trees and shrubs the attention during this time ensures that the development grounds transform into lush and colourful landscapes when spring arrives.

Outdoor space is extremely important in keeping the feel and look of a development. Giving in later months a place for people to meet and relax. In the colder weather sprinkler systems left on can be particularly susceptible to temperature changes. Freezes can damage pipes and require immediate attention, so it is best to periodically check the system for leaks using zone-by-zone tests. Drain and test winterized systems zone-by-zone for repairs prior to spring.

With warmer temperatures, the potential for earlier germination of weeds is certainly possible. Apply herbicides and fertilisers now to fight weed germination that typically begins in April in slightly warmer climates.

Additionally, the landscape will need nutrients that it may not otherwise get from normal rainfall. Apply a slow-release fertilizer to ensure the lawn and vegetation has everything it needs to blossom in the spring. About half of the nutrients and nitrogen release in the initial application to give the landscape a jump. The rest will release over the next few months and stabilise growth. Green grass always looks better than brown!

Take advantage of those warmer days to do general clean up around the grounds. Clean leaves and dead plants out of beds and cut back grasses. The landscape will have a head start for new growth when warmer temperatures return for good.

For more tips on making the most of your development and to see how we uniquely manage many developments across the UK, why not get in touch with the Inspired Property Management team 01302 729500.

 

 

The Rise of the Millennial Renter in 2017

Millennials are anticipated to overtake Baby Boomers as soon this year, as the largest generational segment. In addition to the size of Gen Y, their potential buying power has grown to upwards of £100 billion annually.

Whether it’s the close proximity to public transportation or a pet-friendly atmosphere, there are a few ways to make your property more appealing to Millennials:

What is a Millennial?

Birth Year: Early 1980’s to early 2000’s age bracket (approx. 18 – 35 years old)

Why Millennials?

They are the next generation of buyers who are still trying to get on the property ladder.

Millennials are making up a quarter of the UK population and they are predicted to hit the 17 million mark by 2019. In the Guardian article written last year, it states that there are around 16.2 million Millennials in the UK.

It’s all on-line

digital renters

This is the digital generation and everything is done on-line, which is why our Tenant Portal is an easy way for all our tenants to manage and pay their service charges easily and efficiently.

Being transparent

It’s important to show every breakdown of the service charge and what the costs are investing into. This generation want to be more involved and want to see the demonstrated value.

Pet friendly

It’s all about man’s best friend, Millennial’s are pet lovers so it’s important the leases are adapted to reflect this. Why not have a pet friendly apartment block within your development with a dog walking area?

Green living

At least 7 out of 10 Millennials recycle paper, glass or cardboard

In the moment

They want to be near to restaurants, supermarkets, gyms and nightlife as they want everything now.

 

2017 is going to see a rise in renters so make sure your development is the one they choose. For more information about our property management services, please contact a member of our team.

What does the Autumn statement mean for Tenants and Landlords?

Autumn Statement 2016: What does this mean?

Chancellor Philip Hammond has given his first Autumn Statement aimed to help families who are ‘just about managing’. (JAM’s)

In his first major economic speech since the UK voted to leave the EU, the Chancellor reiterated that “Britain is open for business” and pledged to “build an economy that works for everyone”.

His statement including major announcement on housing, benefits and tax, but failed to deliver any cuts on stamp duty.

Tenants will no longer be required to pay upfront fees that average £337, in a change aimed at helping the 4.3 million households that are living in private rental housing.

“Landlords appoint letting agents and landlords should meet their fees,” Hammond said.

The change should be introduced “as soon as possible”.

Mr Hammond has also announced the Government is investing £1.4bn in an effort to deliver 40,000 of new affordable homes.

Hannah Maundrell from comparison site, money.co.uk, said: “There’s little doubt tackling this ridiculous ‘tax’ on renters will make it easier and more affordable for people to move without having to borrow cash to cover the cost. The fact some people have to resort to payday loans for moving fees simply can’t continue.

“Scrapping letting agents fees is a smart move but the government need to make sure they think about damage limitation. Landlords could simply hike rents if they’re made to pay the difference.”

The government heralded a step change in its ambitions for addressing the housing supply shortage, pledging £1.4bn to build 40,000 additional affordable homes, an extra £2.3bn housing infrastructure, and a relaxation of financing restrictions on government grants. (to permit the financing of affordable rented housing).

There was little succour for Buy-to-Let landlords, as a ban on letting fees to tenants will doubtless see these costs passed on to landlords. This may be counterproductive in the longer term as it could translate into higher rents and may also lead to an increasing number of Buy-to-Let landlords exiting the market. The extension of the Right to Buy programme will also reduce rental stock. These measures may therefore cause further upward pressure on rents, which in London are already expected to grow faster than property prices over the next 5 years.

The rental sector is expected to provide an increasing percentage of housing supply over the next decade, as much of ‘generation rent’ are unable to afford to buy a property, especially in London. The moves today to boost the supply of affordable rented homes, coupled with previous initiatives regarding the emergent Build to Rent sector, signal that the government is committed to supporting the rental market, and increasingly regards it as playing key part in addressing the housing shortage.

David Poppleton, Director at Inspired Property Management welcomes these moves to improve the rental sector, stating that ‘Renting must become an acceptable alternative tenure and IPM will work positively to implement these changes without compromise’ .

Image courtesy of gov.uk website for more information on the Autumn Statement please click here

Inspired success at former hospital site

Inspired Property Management has recently been awarded the property management contract for a large-scale site based in Wakefield.

IPM successfully tendered for the contract and will officially take over the management of the large scale mixed residential site on 7th December.

parklands wakefieldThe site remains a prestigious site in the area and was formally part of the old Pinderfields hospital. The site has 205 luxury apartments and 75 houses, which will now be managed and maintained by the professional team at IPM.

Danielle Doyle, Director from Inspired Property Management advises, “The success of our latest contract win is largely due to our reputation and high level of service we provide to all parties involved.”

We pride ourselves on effective communication with our residents and work in partnership to achieve the goals and objectives of the owners and leaseholders.”

IPM has gone from strength to strength this year with various new contract wins and look forward to continuing their success in 2016.

Image Source: Rightmove

Benefits of Using a Property Management Agent

Using a Block Management Agent

This article provides basic guidance on why you should appoint a managing agent, where leaseholders are subject to the payment of a service charge. It is particularly relevant if you are a director of a resident management or right to manage company with a block of flats.

Flat-owners may acquire management responsibilities in different ways: through acquisition of the freehold of the building, through the statutory Right to Manage (RTM) or simply by delegation of the management responsibilities from the landlord. Whatever the route, the management is normally exercised through some form of resident management company (RMC). The RMC will assume responsibility for the management and repair of the building, and for compliance with the obligations of the lease and the wide range of relevant statutory requirements. It will have to assess how best to achieve this, usually by appointment of a professional block managing agent.

The role of a residential block managing agent today is a complex one and requires a highly professional approach. To carry out the role requires knowledge of landlord and tenant law, building construction, Health and Safety regulations, basic accounting and more.

Professional managing agents bring an organised approach to the planning and collection of the service charges and reserve funds, the timetables for redecoration, repairs, inspection and supervision of works.

Their assessment of what must be done, and when, will be independent of private interests and preferences, and based solely upon their duty to keep the premises in good repair. The process of collecting funds and the responsibility for taking steps to recover unpaid charges will fall under the responsibility of the managing agent.

A managing agent handles all the mundane and time-consuming administration. If issues and disputes arise, these can be dealt with impartially by the managing agent who’s primary goal is to ensure they site is well maintained and stays in good condition.

Managing agents should hold professional indemnity insurance as a further protection against negligent acts or incompetence and have the responsibility for compliance with leases, laws and codes of practice.

For more information about the services covered by our team at Inspired Property Management or to discuss your potential site management requirements, please speak to one of our Property Management Experts who can advise you further.

Inspired Property Management have expanded

Inspired Property Management are pleased to announce we have acquired new premises which are next door to our current Head Office, located in Doncaster, allowing the business to continue with the rapid growth and expansion plans for 2015 after various successful contract awards. 

The neighbouring building will provide additional space for our growing team and expanding portfolio of clients. This is further proof of the continued success of our business and growth since it’s launch in 2009.

David Poppleton, Director, advises; “We have successfully completed the purchase of the office next door and will be starting building work to integrate the two offices, creating a larger office space and boardroom for our growing team and clients.”

“We have had a very successful year with contract wins, due to the hard work and consistently good service from our dedicated team.”

For more information about our Property Managing Services throughout West and South Yorkshire please browse our website for further information.

Inspired Property Management get responsive!

We’ve recently completed and launched our new fully responsive Inspired Property Management website.

The site is fully responsive for mobile and tablet so no matter what the device the website is viewed on visitors can navigate around the site with ease and find exactly what they are looking for quickly.

In addition the site features a full content management system (CMS) and links to our very own on-line tenant portal system where our customers can find all the information they require about their property and can even make payments on-line.

Dave Poppleton, Director, advises,

“We wanted to ensure that we provide a smooth and seamless service to our customers and our new fully responsive website reflects this.”

“With enriched content and the latest company news, the website becomes our on-line voice to our customers.”

Why not browse the new site and let us know what you think!