We start this blog with a Happy New Year to all our readers!
2017 is a busy year for the Residential Landlord and Tenant sector so we have taken the liberty of summarising some of the key events we expect to see this year.
- In April and June 2016, we wrote a few blogs on the Housing and Planning Act. At this stage we are still unclear about all the provisions that will be in force this year however the abandoned properties and fixed penalty notice provisions should come into force in April and the banning orders and database provisions are likely to come into force in October this year.
- The Right to Rent provisions which are currently in force in England are likely to come into force in Wales this year and possibly Scotland as well.
- The HMO and residential property licensing reforms are expected to come into force in April. The reforms will see an increase in the number of properties that are subject to mandatory licensing.
- There are also several local authorities who have started, or have indicated that they will shortly start, consultations on new licensing schemes under the Housing Act 2004. These include both additional HMO licensing as well as selective licensing of all landlords in discreet areas. There are also a few much larger selective licensing schemes that are currently, or shortly will be, before the Secretary of State for his approval.
- The Homelessness Reduction Bill will continue its passage through Parliament and may come into force this year. The Bill will toughen up the legal duties on councils to prevent homelessness and force them to take action to rehouse tenants being evicted by private landlords at an earlier stage.
- If the Homelessness Reduction Bill comes into force this year, we also expect changes to be made to Section 21 Notices and the How to Rent guide to support the changes it makes, which may require changes to agent’s and landlord’s procedures.
- The Renting Homes (Wales) Act is expected to come into force in 2018. However, a significant amount of further consultation and secondary legislation is required to implement the Act. These will progress during 2017 and the exact shape of this key change for Wales will become more apparent.
- Finally, the consultation on banning letting agent’s fees in England is expected to commence this month. The consultation is to be about the form of the ban as opposed to whether it should be implemented or not and will be crucial for many agent’s future business plans.
It is reasonable to expect that the rapid pace of change which has been sent over the course of the last year or so will continue into 2017. Agents and landlords would be well advised to keep a close eye on our blog!