As you know, last year the government announced changes in legislation to crack down on rogue landlords. The Government have confirmed that new measures will come into force on 6 April.

The new measures to be implemented under the Housing and Planning Act include powers to prosecute and impose significant fines or issue civil notices with penalties of up to £30,000. They also mean that income raised from these penalties will be ring-fenced for further enforcement activity.

Agency Fees

Housing minister Gavin Barwell has confirmed that consultation on the government’s proposed ban on letting agency fees levied on tenants in England will launch “in the spring.”

The government announced at the 2016 Autumn Statement a ban on letting agent fees paid by tenants. They said it was to improve competition in the private rental market and give renters greater clarity and control over what they will pay. The government will consult in the Spring on the detail of implementation.

The housing minister Barwell also said that the government’s long-awaited Housing White Paper – eventually announced at the end of last month – sets out an intention to promote fairness and transparency for a growing number of leaseholders.

Rental market

Figures from February show that the rental market across the UK slowed down, with the most recent Property Activity Index from Agency Express showing less activity in the private sector last month.

According to the figures, a big issue throughout February was demand, with a fall in newly listed properties. This meant that the number of homes available for rent was 13.8 percent lower than in January, which is the largest month on month drop since the index first began back in 2012.

Despite a decline in new properties on the market, the number actually let during the month saw an increase of 3.4 per cent. While previous years were stronger with February 2016 seeing a 4.5 per cent rise and 5.5 per cent in 2015, this is a positive move and shows that there is still demand in the rental sector.

Not all of the country was affected by a decrease in new property listings either, as both the East Midlands and West Midlands recorded rises in new listings. Similarly, five of the 12 regions, included in the index, saw increases in the number of homes successfully let during February. Of these, the South East, West Midlands and Scotland were the top three.