Tag Archives: propertymark

Agents can access new model Occupation Contracts ahead of Welsh renting law change Landlord News, Latest Articles, Lettings & Management, Wales

One organisation is providing its letting agent members with access to new model Occupation Contracts ahead of the introduction of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016.

That’s when agents, landlords and tenants will see the biggest change to Welsh housing law for decades.

It is almost seven years since the Act gained Royal Assent and it will be implemented on 1 December 2022, bringing in significant changes to the way homes are rented, managed and lived in.

Now Propertymark is offering six model Occupation Contracts to its depending on the deposit scheme being used and whether they are being used to convert existing contracts into fixed-term or periodic contracts.

Contracts have been reviewed by Rent Smart Wales

The contracts have been written by Dutton Gregory Solicitors which runs the ARLA Propertymark legal helpline and can be used by agents with added confidence as they have been reviewed by Rent Smart Wales, the body that will ensure compliance with the new legislation.

Propertymark’s policy team has also produced a series of downloadable factsheets that will explain all the changes the Renting Homes (Wales) Act will introduce.

Topics covered include the new Occupation Contracts; Written Statements; succession rights; joint contracts and joint landlords; ending a contract; Fitness of Homes for Human Habitation and repair obligations; break clauses; retaliatory evictions.

As part of the ongoing support it has been providing to members and non-members, there’s also a recording of a webinar that was hosted with Simon White, the head of housing strategy for the Welsh Government, and who is in charge of implementing the changes.

‘It is essential agents understand the impact’

Tim Thomas, Propertymark’s policy and campaigns officer, said: “The Renting Homes (Wales) Act updates and brings together a number of complex pieces of legislation into a single framework and it is essential agents understand the impact themselves and help their landlords to do so too.

“One of the key elements is the new Occupation Contracts.

“They are crucial to ensuring agents comply with the new legislation and the different versions we are making available to all of our members can be used with the additional confidence of having been reviewed by Rent Smart Wales.”

The model Occupation Contracts can be downloaded by members along with the other resources from Propertymark’s dedicated Renting Homes (Wales) Act website page.

Funding help is needed to make homes more energy efficient EPC, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Lettings & Management, Property News

Only cash help to make homes and businesses energy efficient will enable the government to meet a pledge set out by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, in his Autumn Statement last week, Propertymark says.

Mr Hunt says he wants to focus on boosting energy efficiencies because this will be crucial to hitting the Net Zero target by 2050.

The Chancellor has now set a target of reducing the country’s energy consumption by 15% by 2030.

And to help achieve that, he is to set up a taskforce and will double the government’s spending on energy efficiency.

The role that the property sector must play

Propertymark says it understands the role that the property sector must play in reducing energy consumption and has been lobbying for financial support to fund these measures – including for landlords to improve the energy rating of their properties.

Timothy Douglas, Propertymark’s head of policy and campaigns, said: “It’s good to see the government have listened to what we have been saying for some time.

“That is improving the poor energy efficiency of homes and businesses is the most effective way of reducing householders’ bills and cut carbon emissions from millions of homes and buildings.”

He added: “Existing funding schemes have been poorly targeted, so this additional spending pledged by the Chancellor needs to offer real incentives for homeowners and landlords to invest in measures that work for their property and are not based on the idea that one-size-fits all.”

BEIS is reviewing how it will deliver the Net Zero target

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is also currently reviewing how it will deliver the Net Zero target to ensure it does not place undue burdens on businesses or consumers.

In response to the BEIS review’s call for evidence, Propertymark says more realistic energy efficiency targets need to be agreed with the sector along with financial support to help achieve them.

Propertymark is also renewing its call for a national retrofit strategy that is linked to funding and targets that consider a property’s individual characteristics.

Options for Stamp Duty discounts for those who take on and improve low EPC-rated homes should also be explored as this is something that may also help bring long-term empty properties back to the market.

Environmental and financial benefits to tenants and landlords

It says more needs to be done to promote the environmental and financial benefits to tenants, landlords and homeowners in reducing bills and emissions.

The wider economy can also benefit with the creation of more jobs in green industries to deliver the government’s Net Zero strategy.

Propertymark says the pressure on rents is easing Buy to Let News, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Lettings & Management, Property News, Propertymark

Propertymark, the body for property agents, says that the average number of new prospective tenants registered with each member branch in October fell by 42% on the month before.

This drop in demand will, they say, reduce pressure on rents, with another fall this month in the number of agents reporting month-on-month rent price rises.

An average of 85 new applicants were registered per member branch in October.

This number is down significantly since last month’s high of 147 but this is still above the pre-pandemic average for October of 72 (2018–2019).

Supply of available homes to rent

The Housing Insight Report also reveals that the supply of available homes to rent continues to hold.

Members report having nine properties on average per member branch available to rent in October — that’s down from September’s figure of 11.

The rate of rent rises is also falling with 68% of member branches reporting month-on-month rent increases in October.

That’s down again from July’s high of 82%.

‘Decrease in the number of prospective tenants’

Nathan Emerson, the chief executive of Propertymark, said: “We are now seeing a slight decrease in the number of prospective tenants registered per branch as due to the ongoing lack of supply, a hike in rent prices was seen across the UK.

“This should start to ease pressures on rents at a crucial time for many as the cost-of-living crisis continues to pinch at people’s finances.”

Propertymark slams extension to no-fault notice periods in Wales Buy to Let News, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Lettings & Management, Wales

All new tenancies in Wales from 1 December will have a statutory six-month no-fault notice period, while existing tenancies that convert to occupation contracts will see the extension under the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 take effect from 1 June next year.

The move follows a consultation that led to 1,400 responses and 90% of those were from landlords and letting agents – and the majority of those stated they were against the extension of six month notice periods.

Those views have been ignored.

Instead, the Welsh housing minister Julie James says that all tenants and tenant representative bodies were in favour of the extension – and most of them said it should be applied from 1 December, rather than 1 June 2023.

The National Residential Landlords Association had urged for the extension to be delayed by up to two years.

‘Extension of the six-month no-fault notice period’

Ms James said: “The proposed extension of the six-month no-fault notice period was always going to generate highly contrasting views.

“Whilst noting the views of those landlords and agents that responded, I have decided that the societal and individual benefits accruing from the extension outweigh the negative impact on individual landlords, particularly in view of shorter notice periods of one month or less applying where there is a breach of contract.”

She also said that landlords will need the extra time to plan for the change as this would offer a ‘reasonable balance between the rights of tenants and those of landlords’.

The effect it will have on landlords

However, Propertymark says that the move fails to take into account the effect it will have on landlords.

Tim Thomas, the organisation’s policy and campaigns officer said: “Letting agents and their landlords showed great flexibility at the outset of the pandemic in their support of extended notice periods, but again we have a government pursuing permanent changes to what were supposed to be temporary measures.

“The Welsh Government says extending notice periods for existing tenancies from June is necessary to bring down the rising cost to taxpayers of temporary accommodation.

“What it fails to understand is the knock-on effect this strengthening of tenants’ rights will have on the confidence of landlords. New tenancies will also have to comply by 1 December.”

‘Need to know they can regain possession of their property’

He added: “The private landlords our member agents represent have become important housing providers, but they need to know they can regain possession of their property when they need to do so.

“The best way to support tenants is to focus on policies that can increase the supply of housing rather than those that will constrain it.”

Propertymark is hosting a FREE webinar about the Renting Homes (Wales) Act at 12pm on 23 November when Simon White, the head of housing strategy for the Welsh Government, will explain the biggest shake-up of Welsh housing law in detail and take questions.

Decent Homes Standard in the PRS needs to be fully resourced Landlord News, Latest Articles, Lettings & Management, Property News

Propertymark has responded to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) consultation on the Decent Homes Standard in England by offering clarity on how to deliver greater parity between the social and private rented sectors.

The organisation says that its response will help ensure landlords who do not treat their tenants fairly are held accountable.

The responsibility of enforcing these rules will often lie with the local authority but many, as Propertymark highlights, struggle to enforce the current standards within the private rented sector.

Any additional responsibilities for local authorities will be difficult to manage without additional resources.

Recommendations before implementing the Decent Homes Standard

In addition to offering more resources to local authorities, Propertymark has urged that DLUHC consider the following recommendations before implementing the Decent Homes Standard:

Focus on prevention rather than prosecution – to ensure that the standard of homes improves, resources should be focused on providing information to landlords and support to enable them to meet the standard, rather than using fines as a first response to any breaches

Develop national guidelines for local authorities – our members have expressed concerns over the potential for inconsistent enforcement and standards across England. National guidelines would increase the consistency of the Decent Homes Standard

There should be some accountability for tenants – if the breach in standards is due to a lack of care or neglect by the tenant, the landlord should not be liable for the violation. This is especially important when dealing with the issue of mould.

‘Support greater standards for homes within the private rented sector’

Timothy Douglas, Propertymark’s head of policy and campaigns, said: “It’s hard to find a reason not to support greater standards for homes within the private rented sector.

“Tenants should expect a certain standard when renting from any agent.

“The Decent Homes Standard creates a level playing field that our members will appreciate as they already go above and beyond what is expected of them.”

He added: “That being said, the DLUHC needs to understand the immense strain local authorities are facing when delivering their current duties regarding existing standards.

“Sufficient resources and commitment will be required to ensure consistent and regular enforcement of the Decent Homes Standard.”

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