United Kingdom

Agents voice big concerns over the Renters (Reform) Bill

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“The Renters (Reform) Bill is the biggest worry facing agents today.” 

That’s the word from HF Assist, a dedicated support service for agents (and part of the Hamilton Fraser group), at a recent Q&A webinar it co-hosted with PayProp.

Representatives of HF Assist told viewers uncertainty over the bill and its impact on the industry was the top reason agents have been calling the hotline. It trumped worries over current notice periods for Section 8 and Section 21 evictions, company lets and when to use them, tenancies including bills during the current cost of living crisis, right to rent checks, and securing access for inspections, maintenance and viewings.

Lettings surgery

The webinar was the latest in a series of HF Assist lettings surgeries, giving property professionals a chance to ask industry experts hot-button questions affecting their businesses, such as ongoing compliance issues and understanding the latest developments in the private rented sector.

Addressing attendees' concerns over the Renters (Reform) Bill, Julie Ford, HF Assist advisor, reassured viewers that while Section 21 evictions would end, they were still permissible today and there were question marks over how soon the legislation would be implemented once the bill becomes law. 

Neil Cobbold, Managing Director, PayProp UK, further explained that when Section 21 is abolished, other grounds for evictions would be strengthened including repossessing a property for sale or if close family need to move in.

Coping with change

According to Mike Morgan, HF Assist Team Leader, the worries over the bill mirror what he experienced recently when new PRS legislation was introduced in Wales. In that case, the HF Assist helpline experienced a surge in calls to help agents comply with the new rules.

Other concerns over compulsory pet insurance, landlord redress membership, non-purpose-built student lets and the transition to periodic tenancies were also discussed. 

Commenting on the webinar, Cobbold said,

“It was great to have such an engaged audience on the recent lettings surgery webinar, but it was clear that they had big questions over the Renters (Reform) Bill. While there aren’t many surprises for the industry, as the measures were already included in the 2022 Fairer Private Rented Sector white paper, the lack of detail around how and when these measures will be implemented is a real worry for the agents.”
“As an industry, we need to see more details from the government and be part of the discussion as the bill goes through the parliamentary process. A high level of engagement with property professionals will be key to ensuring these reforms deliver to the benefit of all parties.”
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