There’s a lot going on in the world of lettings, so here’s our February 2022 lettings update – essential reading for landlords! 

Right to Rent changes April 2022

From the 6th April 2022, both landlords and letting agents will need to determine the immigration status of all adults who are prospective tenants, using the government’s new digitised system: the Right to Rent Online Checking Service for biometric residence card/ permit holders..  

These are significant changes to the way Right to Rent checks have been carried out up until now, so it’s important to ensure, particularly if you’re a self-managing landlord, that you know what’s expected of you, and are prepared for these changes. 

Non-compliance could mean a minimum of a £1000 fine for first offences, but there is no limit to the fines that can be imposed, and there could even be prison time for the most serious flouting of the law. From April 6th 2022, it will no longer be possible to use Biometric residence cards/ permits to carry out manual Right to Rent checks.

Are retrospective Right to Rent checks required?

No. When the changes come into effect, there’s no requirement to retrospectively check tenants who used a physical document in order to complete their checks. 

However….

If for some reason, a landlord or letting agent does carry out a retrospective check, only to discover that a tenant no longer has the Right to Rent in the UK, you must report this to the Home Office to maintain a statutory excuse against prosecution. There’s an online form to submit for this. 

Three months might seem like a long time away, but this is a really important law you need to get your head around – especially if you manage your own property portfolio. 

How does the Levelling Up Whitepaper affect buy to let landlords? 

What is the Levelling Up Whitepaper? 

It’s a plan set out by the government, detailing their commitments encompassing 12 “levelling up missions” to shine the spotlight on “Britain’s forgotten communities”.

Although the whitepaper contains plans for many different areas to improve the overall quality of life in the UK, there’s a big focus on the property industry, particularly the private rental sector. 

What is the impact of the levelling up whitepaper on the rental sector?

The whitepaper sets out a government goal to decrease the number of non-decent rental homes by 50% by 2030. 

To do this, they propose looking at: 

  • Launching a drive on housing quality by creating a decent homes standard for rental properties
  • Building more genuinely affordable homes including social housing
  • There’s a brief mention of a national register for landlords
  • Abolition of Section 21, which currently allows tenants to be evicted on a rolling periodic tenancy, or at the end of a fixed-term tenancy for no reason. The proposals suggest strengthening section 8 instead, to hopefully improve grounds for possession and the court process in general – so this could be a positive move for landlords! 

The abolition of section 21 is actually part of the Renters’ Reform Bill, another white paper that is expected to be published in Spring. 

While some elements are explored in more depth, others are just touched upon, awaiting more detail in their corresponding whitepapers. If you would like to read the plans in full, you can read the whitepaper here. 

Our management team are fantastic and will be happy to talk with you about how we go about finding the best tenants for our client properties, and how we manage the properties once they are in situ.

If you’re a landlord with your head in your hands worrying about how you’re going to manage your properties while keeping on top of all of these significant changes, then please do get in touch.

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