Here at Family Homes – and in my role as Managing Director and property investor – we’ve all had to keep in line with recent changes that the government has made to certain rental and property laws as a result of cracking down on rogue renting.  We’re obviously all too happy to continue providing our expertise and services in line with the latest in legislation and advice – but it’s also important that we make the changes that the government are bringing into play very clear indeed for our clients and partners.  As an investor, too, I am personally concerned with all changes that are being brought forward to affect the housing market.

In April 2016, the government enshrined certain policies in law which seek to prosecute and fine landlords who are failing to operate under the standards outlined by the landmark Housing and Planning Act.  This not only means that the taxes and reliefs landlords were previously entitled to have now been re-imagined, but it also means that tenants stand to benefit from further reliefs themselves.

If you operate via lettings agencies, you will likely already be aware that certain fees are to be scrapped in light of aiding tenants in finding homes.  This means that lettings fees levied at prospective tenants will be sought to be wiped out entirely – and having been successfully put through via Queen’s Speech this summer, the bill will need to be passed via Parliament in due course.  The general feeling is that it will almost certainly be passed – great news for tenants, less so for agencies.

Further to this, the rental market was thought to have slowed down earlier this year – despite more properties being let having increased by around 3.4%.  New properties, too, seemed to have slowed down in appearing on the market – showing that changes to the law may encourage an even further change in the way the market is behaving for future months.  There is a significant dip in lettings and new listings in the month of December – though year on year, this correlation does not appear to be anything to worry about.

Therefore, the takeaways from the changes in the market and in rental law are thus – we could start seeing greater control being provided to tenants in particular, meaning that we could also see changes being brought in with regard to lettings agency operation.  It’s always important to bear these factors in mind as landlords – but it’s even more important to consider the various levies and changes in taxation and fees that may come to affect lettings in the months to come.

Here at Family Homes, we’ve made sure to update our information at every turn to make sure that any renters or landlords likely to be affected by changes in the law are given full disclosure on what to expect in terms of fees and financial requirements.  Once again – the good news is that the government is moving matters along to give more power and transparency to tenants – and this presents many opportunities to both investors and landlords.  Some investors/landlords will not accept or even appreciate the changes, and may choose to leave the industry – bringing more properties to the market, therefore giving you and I an opportunity to take advantage of adding to stock at discounted prices to our property portfolios.  The key here is to embrace these changes – by understanding the new laws and gaining new knowledge, which will in turn place investors like you and I in an identical situation – to swim, rather than to sink.

If you’re likely to be affected by any of the changes brought in by the government, or would like advice on matters relating to fees and lettings legislation, do get in touch with our team today on 01795 473434 – or email me, Sunil Popat, via sunil@familyhomes.co.uk.

Sunil Popat

Director, Family Homes