The Tenant Fee ban, changes to Section 21 and the top BTL hotspots …

Posted: 12th Jun 2019

Do you own buy to let property or are you looking to invest in one? Then the following snippets of news are relevant and might sooner or later have an impact on your business.

The Tenant Fees Act

June 1st 2019 saw the Tenant Fees Act come in to force which bans landlords and their agents from charging a wide range of fees to their tenants.

An article by Property Wire on the 3rd of June revealed that the total savings to tenants are estimated to be £240 million in England alone.

That total saving is further estimated to be worth up to £70 per tenant household.

The Act also imposes a cap on the amount landlords may charge tenants as a security deposit against breakages and damage – the deposit must be no more than the equivalent of 5 weeks rent if the annual rental is less than £50,000.

How to Rent guide and Form 6A updated

Following on from the new Act above, where neither landlords nor their letting agents may now charge fees to their tenants – except for a few closely prescribed reasons – the official How to Rent guide has been updated accordingly.

The up to date version of the guide must be given to any new tenants you take on or any tenancy that is renewed.

Critically, the guide makes clear that no landlord may issue so-called Section 21 (or “no-fault”) eviction notices where fees have been illegally charged and the tenant has not been refunded any monies they have paid. The relevant Form 6A has been updated to this effect and must be used in any Section 21 proceedings with effect from the 1st of June.

In a posting by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) dated the 31st of May reminds landlords that, together with the current version of the How to Rent guide, every tenant must be given up to date copies of:

  • the annual gas safety certificate;
  • the relevant Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – unless it is a room in a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO);
  • the required information about the protection of the tenant’s deposit – under the terms of the Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme; and
  • if the let property is licensed, a copy of that licence.

Axing Section 21 leaves landlords “powerless” says the National Landlords Association

Landlords will be powerless to prevent or control antisocial behaviour (ASB) by their tenants if the current provisions for Section 21 “no-fault” evictions are abandoned – says the National Landlords Association (NLA).

If the provisions are scrapped, landlords will be left with no teeth in tackling antisocial behaviour such as drug dealing and abuse, prostitution and tenants playing their music too loud all hours of the day and night.

Currently, landlords faced with tenants displaying ASB can issue a “no fault” Section 21 notice that enables them to repossess their property, typically within four months, and without having to put those affected through the ordeal of giving evidence in court.

In a posting dated the 4th of June, Landlord Today revealed that a recent survey of landlords found that 14% of them had reported antisocial behaviour by their tenants in the past 12 months.

Best BTL hotspots to quickly recoup your investment

If you are intending to buy let property, it helps to know how quickly you are likely to recoup your investment.

The latest research published identifies those regions where any investment is likely to be recouped most quickly – how long your rental income might cover the initial purchase price of the property and any Stamp Duty:

  • Scotland – 17.7 years;
  • Northern Ireland – 18.9 years;
  • England – 25 years; and
  • Wales – 26.4 years.