Now Northern Ireland appears to be in the frame for substantial changes to the private rental sector according to the Association of Residential Letting Agents.
It reports that the Department for Communities has published proposals for Agent Regulation, rent controls on unfit properties built before 1956, and the banning of letting agency fees on tenants.
ARLA’s analysis of the proposals - set out by the Northern Ireland government here - suggests that the measures include extending notice periods, creating a more rapid eviction service, setting up a landlord advice line, making tenant information packs mandatory, and a series of stricter health and safety and energy efficiency measures.
“The aim of the review is to consider the current and potential future role of the sector and assess the effectiveness of current regulation, identifying where improvements can be made to help make the private rented sector a more attractive housing option” according to the Northern Ireland government.
Consultation on the proposals closes on April 3.
David Cox, ARLA’s managing director, says the improved safety and some other elements are much needed and to be welcomed, but warns: ”Plans to ban letting agent fees is yet another potential hammer blow for the industry in the UK. We hope that discussions can be had in order to outline the business costs and work that letting agents do in order to ensure that the final legislation protects tenants but also means that agents can reasonably charge for the vital services that they provide.”