With 2020 fast approaching, here is a guide as to what landlords need to know as we head into what will hopefully be a bright and prosperous New Year.
It’s really impossible to mention anything to do with 2020 without mentioning Brexit, but at the same time, it’s also impossible to say with any clarity, what, exactly, it will mean.
What is very possible, however, if not probable, is that it will keep Sterling weak, which means that international landlords could be very interested in the UK market.
While this might seem like bad news for local landlords, it could be the exact opposite. The high demand for rental property in the UK means that the supply of rental property would have to increase substantially before yields would be seriously under threat and that is highly unlikely, especially not with local landlords exiting the market. In fact, it is very possible that international investors may scoop up the investment properties of which some local landlords wish to dispose.
A requirement to offer longer tenancies
There have long been rumblings about forcing landlords to offer minimum three-year tenancies with a six-month break clause. For the time being these rumblings seem to have gone quiet, but there is a distinct possibility that this is only because politicians of all persuasions are currently occupied with a general election, presumably to be followed by Brexit.
If this policy were implemented, it could have all sorts of practical implications, particularly if the government abolishes the Section 21 (no-faults) eviction process.
The abolition of Section 21
While this hasn’t actually happened yet, it is essentially a given. Not to put too fine a point on the matter, too many people have invested too much political capital in this for it not to happen. This also has a lot of implications for landlords, but the key point to take away is that tenant selection is likely to become even more important than it is now.
A clampdown on short-term lets
Up until now, the issue of short-term lets has largely been managed at a local level, which, in a certain light, makes sense given that its impact will vary widely from one locality to another. For example, rural areas may gain huge benefit from the market as it can bring in crucial jobs and funds. Cities, however, may find it is more hassle than it’s worth.
Going forward, it’s very possible that landlords will see more local authorities start to make more of an effort to get to grips with the issues surrounding short-term lets and the government may start edging in to the fray as well. For example, they are looking at changing the rent-a-room rules to ensure that landlords would have to be present in their home for all or part of a time a room was let.
Increased health-and-safety regulation
This also seems a given. While it remains to be seen what exactly will be introduced, there are clear indications that the sort of requirements seen in the HMO sector will be extended to the private rented sector as a whole, for example, the requirement to conduct electrical checks every 5 years.