Latest News

Scottish Government advice for agents

27 March 2020

The Scottish Government urges letting agents to familiarise themselves with the latest, extensive advice issued during the continuing COVID-19 crisis. Read More...

COVID-19: Court services suspended for housing possessions

27 March 2020

Due to the deadly spread of COVID-19 and the social distancing measures that have been put in place, the UK Government passed into law the Coronavirus Act on 25 March 2020 which provides additional powers to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak. Read More...

Self-employed to receive 80% supplement by June

26 March 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak this evening announced a new self-employed income support scheme, comprising a taxable grant worth 80% of their average profit over the last three years. The scheme will be open for three months and will be extended if needed. Read More...

Changes to eviction rules after Coronavirus Act passes into law

26 March 2020

The UK Government passed into law the Coronavirus Act on Wednesday 25 March 2020 providing additional powers to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak including measures to suspend new evictions from private rented accommodation while the national crisis is taking place. Read More...

COVID-19: NFCC gives advice on waking watchers

26 March 2020

The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has issued guidance stating that any agents, among other responsible persons with any doubt about waking watchers in buildings with flammable cladding materials present should get in touch. Read More...

Government urged to look after the PRS

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Tulip Siddiq, Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn brought a motion to Luke Hall MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Minister for Local Government and Homelessness) today, 17 March, regarding the private rented sector and what happens if you get the Coronavirus, can’t work and don’t get paid.

Siddiq outlined that 700,000 over 60s privately rent and there are 11 million people living in the PRS in the UK. She urged the Government to take this sector seriously and not see it as a stepping-stone to owning a property, as they currently do.

She claimed rents are high, especially in London and other larger cities, and urged the Government to make sure they step in to look after people at risk in the PRS, going onto say that everyone is looking to them to fix the problem for low-income private renters as the situation could become devastating.

Many won’t be able to pay their rent and the weekly statutory sick pay (SSP) of £94 won’t even come close to cover the rent for those in high-rental areas. There were calls from the benches to increase SSP so anyone who needs to self-isolate can do so without the fear of being unable to feed families and fall behind on rent.

Ms Siddiq claimed the ban on evictions for those that can’t pay due to the Coronavirus is a must, whilst simultaneously stating she’s seen unfounded claims that landlords are increasing rent since the pandemic has been named as well as too many landlords wanting to want to see the lack of protection for tenants.

Rogue Landlord Database and Selective Licensing

The question of a Rogue Landlord Database was brought up and stating that landlord licensing is a good way of ensuring the most vulnerable members of society live in adequate accommodation and do not suffer adversely. Siddiq called on the Government to extend selective licensing, like the current system in Liverpool as well as the register of landlords, that has been introduced in Wales - Rent Smart Wales, commenting a universal register of landlords and information provided daily is in the interest of good landlords too.

The Minister responded outlining everyone in the PRS should feel safe in their homes and communities and the Government is setting a Renters Reform Bill which is a package of reforms with plans being set out in the coming months.

There have been major drives to increase standards and the Government has have tackled this with the introduction of Acts, including the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 meaning landlords must ensure every fixed electrical installation is inspected and tested at least every five years by a qualified person and the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, known as the Homes Act, where landlords and letting agents acting on their behalf must ensure properties, including common parts where they have an estate or interest, are fit for human habitation at the beginning and throughout the duration of a tenancy.

Comply or leave the sector

A National Register to protect tenants has been introduced with a list of rogue landlords and property agents for local authorities to tackle the worst offenders. A consultation which closed on 12 October 2019 is being reviewed with further information to be published later this year.

Many landlords are good, but the Government is determined to crack down on the unscrupulous ones who deliberately rent out substandard properties with the cost of the enforcement being placed on the bad landlords, not the taxpayer. They are also looking at ways to expand the scope and improve access to the database.

The Minister said: “We are committed to a better deal for those in the PRS across our country and to improve the lives of those people.”

PROPERTYMARK LOBBYING

Propertymark will continue to lobby and challenge decision-makers in the industry to make vital changes. To view the work Propertymark has undergone when lobbying Government, view the ARLA Propertymark website below.

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