Here is our news roundup for the week, starting with
Changes at the Ministry
The department which looks after housing is the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government which now has a new secretary of state in Michael Gove. Who it is hoped will sort out some of the problems.
There is continuity however as Christopher Pincher remains (at least at the time of writing) in post.
Gove will have a lot on his plate – as well as dealing with the contentious new planning bill and the coal mine in Cumbria, he will also have responsibility for the renters reform white paper which we have been promised for ‘the autumn’ – which presumably means before the end of 2021.
LandlordZone has a post on his past ‘form’ here.
New Right to Rent Guidance form released by the Government
The Government have released a new user guide for landlords and tenants on how right to rent should be carried out and which documents are acceptable.
You can access the document here
There is also information within the document on how to check the validity of documents as well as what landlords can do if the tenant does not have standard documentation.
This is coupled up with the most recent changes, with landlords being able to perform virtual right to rent checks until 5 April 2022. In addition to this, as reported in previous Newsrounds, the new EU settlement scheme has ended meaning that EU/EEA/Swiss nationals can no longer have a valid right to rent by just holding a passport.
New Shelter study reveals that half of renters ‘don’t feel safe or secure’ because of agents or landlords
A study of 3,500 private English renters has revealed that a high number of tenants had experienced their landlord or agent committing an illegal act against them.
25% of private renters in the survey told the study that their landlord had entered the property without their permission. 22% had experienced a lack of safety standards within the property, such as broken fire alarms, or the central heating and water supplies did not work. In addition, 18% also reported that their landlord had not used an approved Government deposit scheme.
In response, Shelter CEO has called for a landlord register which they believe will create a level of accountability for landlords which will drive up standards. In addition, Propertymark CEO has called for regulations for all estate and letting agents. Similar to Shelter, Nathan Emerson, The CEO of Propertymark believes that regulations would professionalise the agent sector of the PRS and would do this by putting in place a code of practice, licensing and qualifications.
A new report reveals the Welsh rent arrears crisis
New research published by the NRLA highlights the rent arrears crisis within Wales which has a higher percentage of landlords dealing with issues relating to rent arrears than England.
In the first half of 2021, 42% of Welsh landlords reported that they had been impacted by issues relating to rent arrears in the past 12 months compared to 35% in England. It is always interesting to note, that this is the trend despite the introduction of the Welsh Tenancy Hardship Fund which has been open to applications since the 30 June 2021, which was offered to tenants who were in substantial arrears.
Chris Norris, Policy director of the NRLA called for:
Wales’ private landlords to make their tenants aware of the grant and call on the Welsh Government to inform all stakeholders across the private rented sector of the fact this financial assistance measure is now available.
Report Reveals the extent of demand for holiday lets in tourist focused areas
A report has revealed how holiday lets are causing a drop in rental stock in tourist-heavy areas, such as Devon, Cornwall and the Isle of Wight.
Since 2019, there has been a 82% drop in rental stock within the isle of Wight, which is the biggest decline within the UK. This lack of choice has either caused prospective tenants to look elsewhere or current tenants to stay in their property.
However, Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data played down the worrying trend by saying that:
Landlords in the typical tourist destinations around Britain have been chasing the huge surge in demand for holiday lets this summer, which has led to a temporary drop in the stock available for permanent tenants.
However, as the summer holidays are coming to an end, agents are now reporting more landlords turning their attention to longer-term tenants as a more secure and stable option for the rest of the year and into 2022
£254 million returned to HMRC from landlords from the let property campaign
It has been revealed this week that HMRC has clawed back £254 million from landlords who have failed to disclose their rental income. This was in response to a question to the Government on whether the HMRC would fund a more direct approach in locating landlords who have not paid their tax.
The voluntary let property campaign is one way that HMRC track down landlords who have failed to pay their dues. The let property campaign is a disclosure opportunity aimed for rental landlords to disclose their income for the year for a lower penalty, which has been one of the main driving factors in the collection of this. However, it seems that this is not their only source of information and that they ‘use a range of data and approaches to identify landlords with undeclared rental income’.
Financial secretary to the Treasury Jesse Norman saying:
Since 2013-14, HMRC’s Let Property Campaign has prompted approximately 58,000 additional disclosures and raised an estimated £254 million in additional compliance yield for the Exchequer.
Where landlords do not come forward to declare their rental income, after being prompted, HMRC take further steps including opening formal compliance interventions where necessary.
You have been warned!
- Post-Grenfell fire safety: leaseholders risk being fleeced, warns top adviser
- Roadmap for digital UPRN roll-out revealed in new report
- Golf courses considered to ease London’s housing crisis
- Remote working is here to stay, says survey
- Arrears In Retreat! Rental debt slashed during pandemic, report shows
- Throuple trouble? Modern relationships making HMO compliance tricky, warns top lawyer
- Does your tenant have a pet, even if you haven’t given permission?
Newsround will be back next week.