0:02 AM, 6th December 2023, About 3 months ago 9
The Renters’ (Reform) Bill will scrap fixed-term tenancies (ASTs) and introduce periodic ones that could expose landlords’ properties to more damage, NoLettingGo warns.
The managing director of the inspection specialists, Nick Lyons, said: “With ASTs there is a tenancy timescale in place from the start – 6, 12, 24 months – whatever it may be.
“Under that system, it was easy for landlords and agents to organise check-in, mid-term and check-out inspections.
“If all lets revert to periodic, then they will have to keep track of the tenancy duration and decide how often they might want to check on their properties to ensure tenants are taking reasonable care of them.”
He continued: “A periodic tenancy will end when the tenant wants to leave, unless the landlord satisfies certain criteria to evict – if the Government proposal goes through, years could pass between the beginning and end of a tenancy.
“It’s vitally important that landlords and agents maintain a strict inspection regime to ensure the properties are being properly cared for.
“If a property isn’t monitored regularly, the owner runs the risk that it will deteriorate significantly.
“Problems like damp and mould – which might be relatively simple to rectify if spotted early – might end up being expensive to repair if early warning signs are missed.”
The Bill was introduced in May and had its Second Reading in October and has been described as the most radical reform of the private rented sector (PRS) in a generation.
Among the controversial proposals is for the removal of Section 21 – so-called ‘no-fault’ evictions – although this measure has been put on hold until reform of the courts process.
The Government says it aims to deliver a fairer, more secure and higher quality PRS.
Other measures include creating a new register of landlords, a property portal to include all privately rented housing, the introduction of a Decent Homes Standard and establishing an ombudsman for the resolution of disputes between tenants and landlords.
Mr Lyons said: “Never has a professional inventory and regular inspections been so important for landlords.
“If there is no detailed, accurate and reliable record in place at the beginning of a tenancy, how can landlords establish any form of deterioration beyond wear and tear and therefore seek redress through one of the deposit schemes?
“Higher mortgage rates and tougher affordability criteria have made it difficult for would-be buyers to get a foot on the property ladder, so they are staying longer in rented properties.”
He adds: “To protect their investment, landlords should put regular inspections in place to support the detailed, professional inventory which the tenant must sign before they move in.”
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