What news items do we have this Friday?
New Energy Efficiency Rules come into force on Monday
Did you know that? I am obliged to Property Industry Eye for their article here.
You will already know that properties must have an energy rating E to be legal if they were let after 1 April last year. And that from 1 April NEXT year 2020 this will apply to ALL rented properties.
The change is in the funding obligations. Now landlords must fund any necessary changes up to £3,500 (including VAT) if they are unable to obtain funding. So:
- If landlords have been unable to source funding, the amount they must self-fund is capped at £3,500
- This will be for both purchase and installation
- Or if the funding is insufficient, then the landlord must top this up to the £3,500 limit
- The money must be spent on “relevant energy efficiency improvements” or they will not count
If all ‘relevant energy improvements’ have been made but the rating is still under E, the landlord will be able to apply for an exemption.
You will find the amended guidance rules here.
Councils not using new powers
We have written in the past on this blog about the new powers granted to Councils to tackle bad landlords. There is now a report out from the RLA saying that Councils are failing to use these as,
- Only three rent repayment orders have been made in the 18 months before September 2018
- In 2017/18, 89 per cent of local authorities did not use these new powers to issue civil penalty notices and
- Half reported that they did not have a policy in place to use them.
David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association, said:
Councils are failing tenants and good landlords. For all the talk about them needing new powers, the reality is that many are not properly using the wide range of powers they already have to drive out criminal landlords.
Laws without proper enforcement mean nothing. It is time for Councils to start acting against the crooks.
However on this blog, Ben has already written about the problems Councils have in enforcing these new rules. So it is not entirely the Council’s fault.
Still, notwithstanding this, these figures are shocking.
Tenant Fees in Wales
Tenant fees will be banned in Wales later this year as the Renting Homes (Fees etc (Wales) Bill has now passed in the Welsh Assembly. It will be going live in the autumn.
It is very similar to the English fees ban and can be enforced both by Local Authorities and by Rent Smart Wales.
Uneven enforcement in Wales
The other Welsh story this week is that Rent Smart Wales seem to be using their enforcement powers more against landlords than agents.
We are told that only three Welsh letting agents have had their licensed revoked, but Property Industry Eye has found that Rent Smart Wales has refused license applications to 27 landlords.
Six self-managing landlords have also been refused licenses, while seven have been revoked, of which three were letting agents. Enforcement figures show that it has issued 500 fixed penalty notices, with 62 convictions. Mostly because a landlord has failed to obtain a license.
However, at least they are DOING enforcement work, unlike (according to the RLA report above) our Local Authorities.
- Fergus Wilson has now sold off all his homes, for a nice £90 million.
- Sales are so low in London that firms are depending on their lettings business to keep afloat, and mergers and closures are expected across the country
- The RICS client money protection scheme has finally been approved just before mandatory CMP comes into force on 1 April
- The Guardian wonders if Co-ops can help solve the housing crisis
- Manchester has received funding to develop a ‘Rogue Landlord Hub’
Newsround will be back next week.