Inventories provide landlords with a ‘last line of defence’

Inventories provide landlords with a ‘last line of defence’

11:34 AM, 15th November 2022, About 11 months ago

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Landlord and agent fears over controversial Government proposals for the private rental sector (PRS) would be eased by the adoption of a rigorous, professional inventory policy, says one industry boss.

The chief executive of No Letting Go, Nick Lyons, said: “These proposals are wide-ranging, and they do benefit tenants but, in the end, we all want decent homes in the PRS, and we want a level playing field for both letting agents on the one hand, and tenants on the other.

“This is best achieved through transparency at the outset of a tenancy agreement, regular monitoring throughout its duration and a thorough, detailed inspection when the term comes to an end.”

The Government’s plans for the PRS were unveiled in June by the then housing secretary, Michael Gove.

He lost his job but was re-instated by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Mr Gove has re-affirmed his commitment to reforming the PRS.

White Paper for reforming the PRS

The government’s White Paper for reforming the PRS include:

  • A ban on Section 21 so-called ‘no fault’ evictions and an extension of the Decent Homes Standard
  • An end to arbitrary rent review clauses, giving tenants stronger powers to challenge poor practice and unjustifiable rent increases and enabling them to be repaid rent for non-decent homes
  • Making it illegal for agents or landlords to have blanket bans on renting to families with children or those in receipt of benefits
  • Making it easier for tenants to share their homes with pets.

When the reforms were first unveiled, Mr Gove said these proposals marked a ‘generational shift’ in tenant rights.

Describing it as a ‘new deal’ for renters, he said: “For too long, many private renters have been at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords who fail to repair homes and let families live in damp, unsafe and cold properties, with the threat of unfair ‘no fault’ evictions hanging over them.”

Proposals might force more landlords to sell-up

But critics have warned that the proposals might force more landlords to sell-up and leave the sector which has already seen an exodus in recent years.

Mr Lyons said: “What these proposals would do in reality, is take what is already best practice and make it a legal requirement.

“Reputable letting agents already operate at a level which is not threatened by these measures.

“But as an industry, letting agents and those servicing the sector must make sure that they are meticulous in all aspects of their operations.”

He added: “We all want to see tenants living in decent homes.

“That is true now for the vast majority of tenants in the Private Rented Sector – eight out of 10 private rented homes already achieve or surpass the Decent Homes Standard.”

He went on: “Critical to that is the preparation of a professionally prepared inventory – agreed and signed off by both parties – to underpin every tenancy agreement and reassure agents and landlords that their properties are valued as homes and treated with due care and respect for the duration of the letting term.”

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