The Queen’s Speech always gives those in the property sector something to think about and 2019 stands out because not just one, two Queen’s speeches took place very close together. The chaotic nature of the last few years, with changes in the prime minister and the added complication of Brexit, has impacted on the rental market. The latest Queen’s Speech, held in December 2019, was the most relevant for landlords, and we’re taking a closer look at it in depth below.
Landlords should take particular note of the Renters’ Reform Bill, part of the Queen’s Speech which looked at making the rental sector a fairer place for all.
What are the Key Takeaways for Landlords from this Queen’s Speech?
There were some significant changes for the rental sector in the last Queen’s Speech, many of which will benefit both landlords and their tenants. The four key points were:
- Introduction of lifetime deposits
- More rights for landlords to gain possession of their properties through the courts
- The removal of Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, which will abolish the use of “no-fault” evictions
- Better tracking of rogue landlords and agencies, to help improve the reputation of the sector and boost professionalism
Let’s look more closely at some of these changes:
New Deposit Schemes
The current deposit scheme typically sees a tenant paying deposits twice. This is because they are required to a pay a deposit on their new property before it is possible to claim their old property’s deposit back, as it is still tied up in the rental deposit scheme. The expense involved in this can result in some tenants not being able to move when they need to because it is a financial impossibility. New proposals will allow tenants to transfer their existing deposits over to a new tenancy and only be required to make up any shortfall. This should make it cheaper and easier for tenants to move without impacting negatively on the landlords.
Greater Access to the Rogue Landlords Database
The Rogue Landlords and Agents Database was initially rolled out in 2018. Since this point, it has only been accessible to local authorities rather than renters themselves. Proposals in the Queen’s Speech suggest the database should be made accessible to renters. This will give renters the additional protection of being able to see if they’re chosen agency or landlord has a good reputation and clean record. This should come as great news to all reputable firms and landlords, as rogue individuals and companies will quickly be rooted out.
A Revolutionised Eviction System
There has long been concern around Section 21 and this Queen’s Speech set out guidelines on how things are going to change. Section 21 Notices are often used by unscrupulous landlords to evict tenants without proper grounds. Commonly tenants find themselves issued with a Section 21 notice in retaliation to something as simple as a request to routine maintenance or repairs. Everyone reputable in the industry recognises how this isn’t an acceptable way to behave and welcome legislative changes to improve tenant’s rights.
The government plans to completely scrap Section 21 notices, as well as improving the court system to make the more appropriate Section 8 notices easier and quicker to force. This should help to protect tenants from unfair and retaliatory evictions but also put in place a system which makes fair eviction quicker for landlords and agencies.
The Queen’s Speech has brought about significant proposals for the rental sector, all of which should make it fairer and more effective for all.