How Can Technology Help with Letting in 2022?James Trafford
2022 has so far presented landlords and letting agents with new challenges to face. The introduction of new legislation that will affect landlords and property agents means compliance will need to be carefully monitored, something that PropTech can help with. The shake up in the rental sector necessitates that everyone is prepared in order to meet new standards required by changes in the law.
For 2022 and further out, the UK government has huge plans for rental reform, including the elimination of Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 under the Renters’ Reform Bill - sometimes called “no fault evictions” – and enhanced action against landlords who have homes that do not meet quality requirements.
Think ahead and make sure your rental and property management systems are ready to prevent costly blunders that might harm you or your agency and consumers.
The UK government has said, “Levelling up is a moral, social and economic programme for the whole of government. The Levelling Up White Paper sets out how we will spread opportunity more equally across the UK.”
Proposed Abolition of Section 21
According to government revisions, the biggest shakeup in England’s housing market will be the ending of Section 21, which will make it much harder to get tenants out of their homes without sufficient justification. As of now, landlords cannot serve an eviction notice on tenants who don’t have a valid gas safety certificate or Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
In the event that Section 21 is repealed, notices under Section 8 may be subject to the same limitation as notices under Section 21. As a result, it’s critical that you check each of your properties for compliance and document that you’ve provided your tenants with the appropriate certifications. Using technological solutions, you can keep track of which properties have certificates, when these certificates expire, and who sent them and when they were sent.
Repair and maintenance solutions should make it simple for you to communicate with and organise work for contractors, allowing you to complete the necessary checks on time and meet all of these standards. Especially for landlords with a large portfolio, this will be even more essential to keep track of the legal status of all their properties.
While waiting for the white paper to be released, landlords and agents can familiarise themselves with the history of the debate pertaining to the abolition of Section 21 here.
Normal conditions do not require landlords to provide their tenants more than two months’ notice before evicting them when a fixed-term lease comes to an end. The term “no-fault” eviction refers to evictions in which a landlord is not compelled to give a cause for the move-out. The landlord, on the other hand, must show that the tenant has broken the terms of the lease in order to serve a Section 8 notice.
New Section 8 grounds have also been proposed by the government to help landlords who wish to reclaim their homes, including if they want to sell or move into the house they own. The Ministers for Justice and Courts and Tribunals are also working together to overhaul court proceedings for possession, the government has declared.
The Renting Homes (Wales) Act
Although Section 21 will ultimately be abolished, current legislation, which is set to go into force in the early part of 2022, is more immediate in Wales. No-fault evictions are the most important reform for landlords and tenants in Wales under the Tenancy Agreements (Wales) Act 2014. Six months is the new minimum notice period for these, an extension from two months. Landlords and agents will be unable to serve notices until at least 6 months into the tenancy, and their effectiveness will be dependent upon full compliance with meeting the licencing requirements, deposit protection, and registration.
In order to serve eviction notices, landlords and agents must guarantee that their properties are fully compliant, and proptech can assist in ensuring that nothing is missed and falls between the gaps.
More information on the most significant changes to housing law in Wales in decades can be found here.
Redial and enforcement for landlords
As part of its reforms for renters, the government has also indicated that it intends to improve property standards, tighten down on bad landlords, and examine the benefits of a landlord restitution plan. As a result, landlords who fail to meet standards will find it increasingly difficult in the future, not just because of heightened enforcement from local authorities and the government, but also because of the authority that occupiers will have to hold their landlords responsible.
Allowing tenants to readily report maintenance concerns is a great way to make sure your properties are up to standard. Using an online repair reporting system that provides immediate assistance, collects vital information, prioritises issues, and removes the need for phone calls or emails might do this. Proptech solutions may also assist you with coordinating periodic inspections and maintenance work required by contractors, increasing response times and leading to happy tenants and landlords.
As outlined above, legislation changes for the rental sector are afoot, and we need to be ready for them. Technology can help enormously by keeping a close eye on compliance and legislative changes as they happen.