Tenants reluctant to access new Renters’ Reform Bill rights

Tenants reluctant to access new Renters’ Reform Bill rights

0:07 AM, 26th May 2023, About 12 months ago 11

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The tightening supply of homes to rent and affordability issues mean many renters will be reluctant to access their new rights under the Renters’ Reform Bill, research suggests.

The findings from TDS Charitable Foundation highlight that nearly a third of tenants are finding it difficult to meet their rent payments – and more than half have cut back on essential spending.

TDS also warns that the affordability of rental accommodation is largely missing from the government’s plans for reforming the sector.

And without ‘proper consideration’ being given to affordability concerns and supply pressures, it says there is a ‘significant risk’ that tenants will be unable and unwilling to assert their new rights.

Affordability pressures are on the rise

TDS questioned more than 2,000 renters and found that affordability pressures are on the rise with nearly half of those who had moved into a rented home in the past six months struggling to afford their rent.

The survey also highlights the mismatch between supply and demand which is making it increasingly difficult for renters to find a place to call home – 68% of tenants said this was a challenge.

Steve Harriott, the chief executive of TDS Charitable Foundation, said: “TDS has welcomed the introduction of the Bill as a way of raising standards in the housing sector.

“The research suggests that the removal of Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions may not in itself be enough to give tenants greater confidence to complain about poor conditions to their landlord or the new Ombudsman.

“Over the coming months, we will want to explore these issues in more detail so that we can help government come up with ways of increasing the confidence of tenants to approach landlords and others about issues affecting their tenancy.”

New legal rights for tenants

The recently unveiled Renters Reform Bill includes several new legal rights for tenants, such as the right to request permission to keep a pet and raise complaints with a new private rented sector Ombudsman.

Tenants can also access information about rental properties on a new property portal.

However, the TDS study found that supply shortages and affordability pressures may prevent many tenants from using these new rights.

The survey found that 87% of tenants had initially reported issues with their tenancy to their landlord or letting agent, but very few escalated their complaints to the local authority or other legal body for fear of being asked to leave.

The tenants were also worried they would struggle to find another suitable property or were wanting to be seen as a good tenant.

Renters are hesitant to ask for energy efficiency upgrades

It’s not just complaints that tenants are reluctant to make either since the survey revealed that many renters are hesitant to ask for energy efficiency upgrades.

TDS says that 44% of renters struggled to pay their utility bills in early 2023, and almost half believed that the energy efficiency of their property could be improved.

But the majority did not request improvements for fear of jeopardising their tenancy.


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Comments

Monty Bodkin

7:10 AM, 26th May 2023, About 12 months ago

GlanACC

7:58 AM, 26th May 2023, About 12 months ago

87% of tenants eh, how big was the sample size and for what earnings demogratic. Sounds like MOST landlords are tarred by this brush. Perhaps I should consider getting out of the PRS. A couple of my tenants have asked about solar panels and thats about it. I qot a few quotes and worked out the rent increase to fund it and it would have been £91.00 a month. After telling the tenants that they weren't interested (based on a 10 year payback £11,000 for panels and battery)

Reluctant Landlord

8:55 AM, 26th May 2023, About 12 months ago

Reply to the comment left by GlanACC at 26/05/2023 - 07:58
I'm afraid I wouldn't even consider it on a rental. Installation does not factor in maintenance, or cost of increased house insurance once installed not tenant misuse. Unless the tenants are really really looking after the house and perhaps you wanted to move in one day in the future.

If the tenants actually assessed how much energy they use (and bearing in mind actually most cost effective use of all, is not using it) then they will probably work out that its pointless. The rent would increase £91 per (I think this is undervalued) yet the would save what exactly? Makes no sense them paying more to save less.

If they want to reduce cost of paying out for energy (if this is the concern they have) then there are more effective and cheaper ways for them (and perhaps you if you wanted to help) to do so. If on benefits look at free loft insulation etc.

Jennifer Harris

9:25 AM, 26th May 2023, About 12 months ago

Reply to the comment left by GlanACC at 26/05/2023 - 07:58Hello the sample was 2001 tenants and was representative. 87% initially reported repair issues to their landlord or letting agent and in most cases, the issue was fully or partly addressed by their landlord or letting agent. However, when issues are unaddressed, only a minority of tenants will escalate their complaint to their local authority or another redress scheme. This has implications for the introduction of the new ombudsman. You can read more on the report section of this webpage. https://www.tdsgroup.uk/policy-research

Luke P

12:14 PM, 26th May 2023, About 12 months ago

"...but very few escalated their complaints to the local authority or other legal body for fear of being asked to leave."

Isn't the whole point of the RRB to *prevent* being asked to leave without a reason??

What a nonsense article.

GlanACC

13:17 PM, 26th May 2023, About 12 months ago

The reason I would look at solar is because when (if) EPC C comes in to force spending £10k on solar is far less disruptive than the other alternatives. I wasn't necessarily doing it to save the tenants money but to comply with the new decent homes standard (having said that I wont spend anything until it is in its final form, and hopefully the tenants will have moved out by then so I can sell)

EL1111

15:27 PM, 27th May 2023, About 12 months ago

I have many private rental properties and my concern is that some don't reach EPC ratings. If I decide to remove them from the rental market rather than fund expensive upgrades and give tenants notice to leave, will I be breaking the law. They are older properties and new boilers, insulation and double glazing will outweigh their capacity to give a reasonable return.

GlanACC

18:33 PM, 27th May 2023, About 12 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Eleanor Fisher at 27/05/2023 - 15:27
NO, if you actually sell them then you will still be allowed to do this. This will be one of the new reasons on a S8 for removing a tenant

EL1111

11:54 AM, 28th May 2023, About 12 months ago

Thank you for that.
Also, will all existing legally binding contracts, signed by both tenant and landlord be relegated to the bin, or will they still be valid for the duration of the tenancy?
Will the new laws over ride all currently binding contracts, and how is that possible?
Surely the government could not interfer in any other business with their 'terms and conditions.'

GlanACC

16:07 PM, 28th May 2023, About 12 months ago

Reply to the comment left by EL1111 at 28/05/2023 - 11:54
I don't think anybody knows yet. Some insurers letting to people receiving LHA and the like, but the new laws don't. I assume they will have to change as you cant write a contract that overrides a law. Lets hope its not like what happened in Wales where it was a confusing cock up and some documents had to be re-issued.

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