Renters’ Reform Bill will dominate the PRS in 2023, says safeagent

Renters’ Reform Bill will dominate the PRS in 2023, says safeagent

0:01 AM, 11th January 2023, About 9 months ago

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Landlords and agents will see the private rented sector (PRS) being dominated by the proposals and progress of the Renters’ Reform Bill this year.

That’s the view of Isobel Thomson, the chief executive of safeagent, who points out that the early signs are encouraging.

She points to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) which appears to be considering the quality and security of tenure and that this must come with flexibility for landlords.

She also believes that there will be clarity about how the new regulations will be enforced.

‘Decent Homes Standard in the PRS’

Ms Thomson explains: “A new Decent Homes Standard in the PRS is coming forward, but the current proposals fall short.

“They don’t account for some recent updates to building safety legislation and also suggest stricter enforcement measures than existing requirements in social housing.

“This disparity needs to be addressed or we risk creating a two-tier system of housing standards.”

Make the existing rogue landlord and letting agent database public

The government is also planning to create a new property portal that will make the existing rogue landlord and letting agent database public.

The portal will also help renters to choose from those landlords ‘who do their job properly’, Ms Thomson says.

She adds: “It’s important this database paints a complete picture – in earlier proposals, the Government omitted failure to belong to an approved CMP scheme as an offence.

“This has been a legal obligation for agents since 2019 and is a vital layer of protection and assurance for consumers.”

‘Avoid overburdening landlords and creating a market exodus’

She adds: “In delivering reform, we must also avoid overburdening landlords and creating a market exodus.

“This would spell bad news for tenants, as well as those in other parts of the housing sector.

“A shrinking supply of decent rented homes is only going to put more pressure on costs and waiting lists for affordable housing.”

Cost-of-living crisis will play a big role for landlords and agents

In other predictions for 2023, Ms Thomson says that the cost-of-living crisis will play a big role for landlords and agents, and they will need empathy to help tenants who are struggling.

She adds that it makes sense for the government to better regulate the short term lets sector ‘in the context of the housing affordability crisis and lack of supply’.

She is also hopeful that the government is more understanding about the potential costs to landlords for meeting energy efficiency standards.

Implications of the Renting Home Wales Act

The Renting Home Wales Act recently came into effect and Ms Thomson says its ‘true implications will become clear in 2023′.

She adds: “Landlords’ compliance responsibilities have changed overnight, with a whole new host of processes around rental home provision to follow.

“It’s vital that the changes don’t push landlords away from the sector, so more direction from the Welsh Government on support initiatives for landlords is needed.

“Either way, policymakers in Westminster working on the Renters’ Reform Bill will be watching closely to see how the new model works in practice.”

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