Letting Laws:

There are over 145 legal rules and regulation affecting the residential lettings sector, but so many of them cause confusion or are not enforced. That’s one conclusion of a report produced for the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) by property expert Kate Faulkner.

TDS & Kate Faulkner are calling for stronger enforcement and streamlining of the legislation affecting landlords in the private rental sector (PRS) throughout the UK.

Ms Faulkner who is the founder of propertychecklists.co.uk and the consultancy firm Designs on Property Ltd., is urging the Government to look into reforms in the sector: a rationalisation of the myriad rules and regulations in the sector which she says is creating confusion among landlords, rental agencies, tenants and enforcement bodies.

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The report sets out the laws and regulations applying across the United Kingdom highlighting some huge differences in the various regimes, leading to more and more confusion as devolution has taken hold. For example, a typical English landlord must comply with around 150 rules and regulations, even more if they let property to housing benefit tenants. In Scotland, Northern Ireland and increasingly Wales, many of the rules are different.

Kate Faulkner thinks that in order to deliver safe properties complying with the law there needs to be a properly funded campaign to raise awareness of the existence of the rules and regulations and much better enforcement.

Kate Faulkner says:

“There are 4.4 million rental properties in England alone so reforming the market would help millions of people. Legislation should be streamlined and funding should be put in place to support enforcement,”

“Legislation varies dramatically across the UK, with different rules for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Landlords are typically over 55, and employed full-time, so often struggle to keep up with what constantly changing legislation they need to be aware of, and what bodies are responsible for enforcing them.

“Trading Standards, the Home Office, the Competition and Markets Authority, and local councils all enforce elements of private rental policy, and there is no single point of guidance for landlords and agencies to make sense of where jurisdictions begin and end.

“As well as a disparity between enforcement bodies, there are geographical differences from county to county. In London alone, there is a huge difference in rates of rogue landlord prosecutions; according to the most recent figures available, Newham prosecuted 359, while Lambeth and Hammersmith each only managed nine.

“Local authorities, however, are not necessarily to blame. The issue needs to be tackled on a national level to ensure uniformity in enforcing laws designed to protect both tenants and landlords.

“Law-abiding agents and landlords are jumping through not inconsiderable hoops, and forking out to meet regulations, while the cowboys know enforcement is lax, and are cutting corners and costs.”

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme is owned and run by several of the key bodies in the PRS: ARLA Propertymark, NAEA Propertymark, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Residential Landlords Association (RLA). The TDS Charitable Foundation is funded by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and aims to promote better standards in the PRS.

Read the full report here

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