Instead of allowing landlords some relief from constant regulatory updates, 2019 has been a year of yet more change for the buy-to-let sector.
Here we take a look back at some of the key issues that have affected landlords during the past 12 months.
We’ve seen the introduction of more regulation, such as the Tenant Fees Act, alongside unfulfilled promises including new housing courts. Read on for the details on these key considerations plus two more issues that have, and continue to, affect landlords.
The Tenant Fees Act was a major piece of legislation that affected new or renewed tenancy agreements signed on or after 1 June 2019.
It removed the charges letting agents could charge tenants and placed a cap on tenant deposits.
The effect is that tenants now only have to pay their rent and deposit, as most other types of fees are banned. However, charging a fee to replace lost keys or for late rent is still allowed.
With landlords covering the costs of the fees previously paid by tenants, some have increased their rents to try and regain some of their losses.
The government has said it wants to ban landlords from being able to evict tenants at short notice with no reason.
Under this so-called Section 21 ban, landlords will have to give a concrete and evidenced reason already specified in law for bringing tenancies to an end.
This would include landlords being able to regain their property if they want to sell it or move into it.
Section 21 is still officially under consultation, but is due to come into effect following the 2019 general election as both the Labour Party and the government say they support the move.
Alongside the ban on evicting tenants at short notice, the government promised housing courts.
The goal was to reassure landlords concerned about not being able to repossess their property where there’s an issue with the tenant.
The current eviction process can take nearly a year in some cases, as landlords need to follow strict laws. These include issuing notices to request possession of the property and going to court to obtain an order for possession.
There’s still no news on housing courts, but like most decisions in the housing sector, it has been delayed by a host of wider issues, including Brexit and the general election.
Similarly on longer tenancies, no decision has been made on whether to introduce minimum three-year tenancy agreements.
The buy-to-let market can expect further changes ahead once the election has taken place and Brexit has been resolved.
What are your hopes for the buy-to-let sector for the year ahead? Let us know in the comments below.
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