Pilgrims MD, James Griffin, looks back on 2021 and looks forward as to what may be in store for Landlords in 2022.
Having come to accept the year on year changes for landlords and tenants, surprisingly 2021 presented us with relatively few new regulations, with the Government focus elsewhere. A new, (yes another new), Housing Minister will do little to support the need for a long term housing strategy to meet the UK’s needs, at a time when supply is scarce and demand increasing.
I suspect the penny may be dropping and a more conciliatory attitude towards landlords is on the way. ‘Shoot from the hip’ commentary on the private rental sector, is certainly affecting tenants in a negative way.
Here’s my look ahead into 2022 and what new legislation is in store
The Renters' Reform Bill
What will finally happen with Section 21? It’s definitely going, (or changing in its current form), but there is certainly no need to worry…
Scotland effectively got rid of the Section 21 in 2017 with no major impact. The industry certainly hasn't fallen apart with any mass exodus in the market.
The Welsh devolved government extended their 6 month Section 21 notice requirement and have kept this in place.
The likely outcome for England could be following either lead, although it is safe to say that any abolition of Section 21 will be coupled with a tightening of Section 8 legislation. My view is that a new reformed Section 8 will likely include accelerated possession procedures that will not require a court hearing for anti-social behaviour or rent arrears. Time will tell.
In reality, for most landlords this is window dressing. In all my years I stand firm in my belief that landlords do not serve a Section 21 notice just to get rid of a tenant for ‘no fault’. Most tenants are great tenants, whom landlords want to keep and will often be more than fair to enable them to do so.
The new Housing Minister, Michael Gove, has already pushed back the White Paper until 2022 and with the gap between a White Paper and an actual bill normally being between 12 to 24 months. Suffice it to say, I don't think we'll see a bill until 2023 at the earliest.
This bill is also likely to include a tenant’s deposit, with many tenant support groups looking at ways to facilitate a tenant not having to a find the money for a new deposit when moving, with their current deposit not released. Some joined up thinking required on this subject, so as not to compromise a landlord of a property a tenant is leaving, nor a landlord of a new property a tenant is renting. Certainly something that is puzzling the law makers right now. I see an insurance-based deposit scheme replacing traditional deposits in the long run. Not as easy as that though, as it will be the tenant who pays for this insurance. This is lost money, whereas a tenant gets a deposit back. We have a system that works well with protection and arbitration via the TDS or DPS. The saying ‘if it’s not broke‘ …. comes to mind!
Regulation of Property Agents
Not before time, our industry is soon to adopt the requirement for formal qualifications. With ‘A’ level to degree standard exams a requirement for all forms of agency work; even to carry out a viewing. At Pilgrims we are fortunate to have a combined tally of 100 years’ experience between our 7 staff members. Forgive me my own self-preservation if I don’t go into any more detail!
It goes without saying that the value we put on knowledge and experience, and a commitment to ensure all staff meet these new requirements, is of utmost importance to all at Pilgrims.
Have a great Christmas and Best wishes for the New Year
Signing off now for 2021 with best wishes from myself and all the staff at Pilgrims to all our clients.