Property Rental Prices in Great Britain: November 2017

Property Rental Prices in Great Britain: November 2017

Private Rental Prices Still Increasing in England, Scotland and Wales

  • Rental prices paid by tenants in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) increased by 1.4% in the 12 months to November 2017.

  • Rental prices for Great Britain excluding London increased by 1.8% in the 12 months to November 2017.

  • Rental prices for London increased by 0.6% in the 12 months to November 2017. This is the lowest annual increase in London since October 2010.

English housing survey: Private Rented Sector report, 2014-15

  • The private rented sector has undergone rapid growth in the last 10 years;
  • There has been an increase in the proportion of families in rented accommodation;
  • Private renters are less satisfied with their tenure than owner occupiers and social renters, but satisfaction has increased since 2004-05;
  • There has been an increase in the proportion of private renters who were charged a fee(s) on entering their current accommodation. These were sometimes hidden by the agent or landlord;
  • Most tenants paid a deposit when they moved into their accommodation and nearly two thirds of their landlords paid this into a government authorised deposit scheme;
  • Dwelling condition and safety in the private rented sector has improved since 1996

Right to Rent now live in England

As of 1st February 2016, landlords (and letting agents if acting on behalf of the landlord) must check that a tenant or lodger can legally rent a residential property in England.

Failure to comply with this legislation means a landlord can be fined up to £3,000 for renting a property to someone who isn’t allowed to rent property in England.

Before the start of a new tenancy, the landlord must make checks for tenants aged 18 and over even if:

  • They’re not named on the tenancy agreement
  • There’s no tenancy agreement
  • The tenancy agreement isn’t in writing

If the tenant is only allowed to stay in the UK for a limited time, the check needs to be carried out in the 28 days before the start of the tenancy.

New Prescribed Section 21 Notice published

Hot on the heels of the smoke alarm debacle new regulations have been published prescribing the form for a section 21 Notice which must be used from 1st October 2015. (The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015.)

As the name suggests these only apply to England. We think the idea of a prescribed form is a good one as it will help avoid arguments over the wording of the section 21 Notice. Obviously it is concerning that there is such a short lead in time although we have been expecting the same for some months now. For most agents completing the form should cause little difficulty, particularly for those used to giving old style Section 21 notice.

The regulations do however refer to three, in effect, new requirements for service of a valid section 21 Notice. The Landlord or Agent will need to show that the EPC and Gas Safe Certificate was given to the Tenant. Practically we would suggest that additional copies probably should be served with the Section 21 Notice, thereby saving arguments. Agents will no doubt wish to draw this to Landlords attention and make clear without these documents they will not be able to use the non-fault Section 21 Notice.

Also there is an entirely new requirement. At the start of each tenancy (including renewals) you will need to serve “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England”. This will only be available in electronic form on the website and Landlords and Agents will be expected to download and print off this 8 page document for each tenancy.   As with prescribed information it is important agents can prove this was given although again you may wish to serve a further copy with any notice to avoid issues being raised. Plenty to look at and certainly going forward we expect the issuing of accelerated possession proceedings will be more difficult given the extra hoops required to prove which will inevitably lead to further changes to the relevant court forms.

Finally, we comment on the note 1 on the form itself, which seems to be intended to help people give the correct date for expiry. First the note advises the landlord to allow two extra days for service, without advising them to check the terms of their tenancy agreement, or to allow for weekends and public holidays.

Secondly the note refers to serving notice on a statutory periodic tenancy under s21(4). Following the rule in Spencer v Taylor notice on a statutory periodic tenancy may be given under section 21 (1) following the expiry of the fixed term. Section 21(4) applies where there has never been a fixed term, e.g. a contractual periodic tenancy from the outset, or where the term is expressed at the outset to continue on a contractual periodic basis, but neither of these are statutory periodic tenancies. The note does not make it clear that although a notice served under s21 (4) may not expire earlier than a notice to quit could, a statutory quarterly periodic tenancy (under the current interpretation of the Housing Act 1988) may, in our view, be brought to an end by giving two months’ notice under Section 21 (1).