The latest in lettings, from Bath and beyond. This month: pets, notice periods and the Renters’ Reform Bill
Over the course of this year, we have firmly established that demand from tenants is comfortably exceeding property supply, with many tenants struggling to secure their property of choice. Reside’s vital statistics over the last month bear this out – average letting time of 3.5 days, achieving an average of 102% of the advertised rent, and agreeing more lets over the course of September than in any other month since the company’s inception.
At this time of year, we usually urge landlords to bring their property to the market as quickly as possible, to avoid the quiet winter market. Whilst that is still advisable, it is difficult to image demand dwindling during November and December, as there are still a great many home-hunters who have been unable to secure a property.
Supply is bound to reduce further between now and the end of the year, meaning that there will still be fierce competition for those properties that do come to the market.
Pet Deposit Peeve
The government has clarified that it will not revisit the deposit caps that were mandated by the Tenant Fees Act. Conservative MP and pets campaigner Andrew Rosindell has led calls for reforms that would make it easier for tenants with pets to secure properties, and the reintroduction of additional pet deposits was widely considered to be most practical way to achieve this.
Deposits are currently capped at 5 weeks’ rent, or 6 weeks’ for high rent properties. This has seen the majority of landlords adopt a more cautious approach to tenants with pets, due to concerns about additional damage being incurred and not adequately covered by the deposit.
Notice Periods Return to Normal
Notice periods finally returned to their pre-pandemic levels on the 1st of October, for the first time since March 2020. Landlords, who had previously been required to serve three, then six, then four months’ notice on their tenants under Section 21, are again able to serve two months’ notice to bring their tenancy to an end. Tenants, whose notice period remained unaffected throughout the pandemic, can serve one month’s notice to end a tenancy.
Reform In The Pipeline
This year’s Queen’s Speech put us on notice that a significant White Paper would be delivered by the government this Autumn, which will propose significant changes to the private rented sector. Whilst recent comments by
Housing Minister Eddie Hughes from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing & Communities have suggested that these are still some weeks away, the minister did clarify that lifetime deposits and Section 21 are very much on the agenda.
We want to get this right. For example if we start from a position of ‘Landlords Bad/Tenants Good’ then the approach might be too stringent for landlords and they’ll be forced out of the market. We don’t want that.
Eddie Hughes MP
Lifetime deposits will allow a tenant to port a single deposit between tenancies, avoiding the need to pay a new deposit at the start of each new tenancy.
Section 21, also known as ‘no-fault evictions’ has long been in the crosshairs of the government, but it remains to be seen how the evictions system will be reformed.