Those who tuned into the Queen’s Speech on the 11th of May can be forgiven for missing the very brief promise to ‘enhance the rights of those who rent’ – seemingly a very general pledge to review standards across the sector. A delve into the detailed briefing notes, however, reveals three details that will be of particular interest to landlords and tenants.
Abolish Section 21 Evictions
Long before the pandemic interrupted their plans, the government promised to abolish Section 21, or ‘no-fault’, evictions. This is the most straightforward and common way for a landlord to end a tenancy at their property, but its future is now back up for review. The government plans to publish a White Paper in the autumn which will detail plans to reform the evictions process.
Another long-running government scheme is the introduction of lifetime tenancy deposits, which would see dilapidation deposits move from property to property with the tenant. Under the current system, a tenant must pay a brand new deposit when moving to a new property, which can often cause cashflow issues for the tenant if they are still waiting for their deposit to be returned by their previous landlord.
It remains to be seen how the government’s scheme will offer simultaneous protection to two landlords where there is an overlap in tenancies. Again, more information has been promised in the autumn.
Redress Schemes for Private Landlords
One of the more unexpected announcements was the plan to require all private landlords to belong to a redress scheme, ‘to ensure that all tenants have a right to redress’.
Currently agents, rather than landlords, are required to belong to a redress scheme, such as the Property Redress Scheme, with which Reside are affiliated. If a tenant rents directly from a private landlord, with no agency involvement, their only current source of redress is through the courts. It is therefore likely that this new initiative is aimed at landlords who do not use a professional agency to manage their tenancy.