As David Cameron announced his cabinet, Brian Murphy of the Mortgage Advice Bureau has said that the new Government will make life easier for landlords – but including the “rogues”.
Unlike Labour, which proposed changes such as rent controls and a national landlord register, the Conservatives have shown little desire to regulate the private rental sector.
“This will arguably make life easier for landlords and remove extra administration time,” said Murphy, “However, this means there is little being done to stop landlords who are acting unlawfully and providing poor quality accommodation, possibly illegally. Rogue landlords are able to compete on price rather than abiding by the law, undercutting good landlords who have higher costs to ensure everything is above board.”
There are already two Conservative policies in the pipeline that could affect landlords in the near future. The first, which involves changes to Section 21 (A & B) of the Housing Act, is likely to come into force later this year.
“The changes proposed to Section 21 of the Housing Act will make it more straightforward to evict a tenant, albeit placing some restrictions on how and when a Section 21 can be given,” said Murphy, “However, landlords must ensure that they don’t carry out their own eviction in a way that is actually illegal.”
The second piece of legislation relates to small print in the 2015 Budget which will make it easier for tenants to sub-let rooms.
“The biggest concern for landlords is that this will make it easier for tenants to re-rent the property or rooms to other renters,” said Murphy, “This also increases the risk of rent-to-rent scams, whereby a middle man poses as a normal tenant, converts shared living spaces into extra rooms and then charges rent for on an individual basis at a much higher price than they are paying the landlord.
“Not only does this damage landlord profitability, it puts them at risk of breaking the terms and conditions of their mortgage (e.g. not letting to tenants on benefits and having maximum contract lengths) and invalidating any landlord insurance.”