A senior figure in an industry trade body says lettings agents are going to have their hands full dealing with legislative changes over the rest of this decade.
Paul Offley, compliance officer at The Guild of Property Professionals, says the changes that agents need to be aware of begin this April with Right to Rent checks on tenants with the Home Office going digital.
The temporary measures during the pandemic allowed Right to Rent checks to be carried out via video call, and by using photocopies or photos of documents - but these come to an end this spring.
This is in line with the government’s plan to implement a digital system for reviews, so as part of the Right to Rent changes, landlords and agents in England will no longer be able check biometric residence cards or permits manually, applicants will need to prove their Right to Rent with a share code, which agents can check online.
According to Offley, there will be drastic changes within the lettings market in Wales.
“In July, tenancies become ‘occupational contracts’ and tenants become ‘contract holders’. Landlords will need to give their tenants six months’ notice on no-fault evictions, which cannot be served until the first six months of the new tenancy has passed” says Offley.
“There are also changes to joint contract holders’ rights, as well as the introduction of succession rights for contract holders, meaning the contract can be passed onto a successor such as the pervious occupier’s children, whether they can afford to take over the tenancy or not” he adds.
Further ahead, April 2025 sees the next phase of changes to the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards with a minimum rating of EPC C for all new tenancies.
Exact details are yet to be agreed but Offley says he expects the new standard will apply to all tenancies from 2028.
“Between now and 2030 we will also start to see the impact of the Levelling Up legislation being introduced in England. And then of course we have the [recommendations of the] Regulation of Property Agents working party.”
He adds, “The Guild is now working with its Members on the implications of all the changes and helping to ensure a smooth implementation and transition.
“With any change in legislation it always brings some resistance but the key thing is really 'don't panic' - the saying 'the devil is in the detail' really does apply here and this is something The Guild will be working on with its members over the coming months; helping them understand what is required and what preparations they can start to make now so that it does not have a massive impact on their businesses and their clients.
“Landlords and agents who are fully prepared for the coming changes will find them easier and they will be in a much better position to assist their clients adapt to the new requirements.”