2018 is expected to be another positive year for the Private Rented Sector as the UK government continues to tackle bad landlord practices and improve the living standards of those who are renting in the sector.
On the 28th December 2017, the government announced a raft of measures that will come into effect from April this year. The new rules will allow the government to gain more power and ban those who have been convicted of offences such as burglary and stalking. This will involve adding them to a database of ‘rogue landlords’ and preventing them from renting out property.
Additionally, landlords who choose not to obey to the rules in the private rented sector could be given fines of up to £30,000. The Housing and Planning Minister Alok Sharma commented: “Enough is enough and so I’m putting these rogue landlords on notice – shape up or ship out of the rental business.”
The latest measures will also bring additional protection for tenants from revenge evictions and £12m funding for local councils to monitor landlords more closely and take action in the most popular rental areas.
This will be beneficial for the wider community who are living amongst poorly maintained properties with rubbish dumped on the streets as landlords will now be responsible for the waste and recycling in their property.
Furthermore, the statement issued by the government went into further detail about houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) and its plans to prevent overcrowding in this type of property. By April 2018, landlords will now have to conform to the new minimum size requirements set for bedrooms in HMOs.
Bedrooms for one adult will have to be larger than 6.51 metres and those occupied by two adults will have to be over 10.22 square metres. Overall, the new measures are expected to affect around 160,000 properties in the UK, as apartments and one and two-storey properties will now also require licensing, whereas in the past it only applied to HMOs with three or more storeys.
Policy director of the Residential Landlords Association, David Smith, noted his concerns over the government’s decision to set a minimum bedroom size in HMOs, saying that it could ‘knock thousands of rooms out of the sector’ and force tenants to move out of their rental property.
The announcement follows the Housing and Planning Act 2016 which was introduced to prevent rogue or criminal landlords from renting out. With 4.3 million households in the private rented sector in the UK, it is more important than ever before for the government to keep tackling the issue of rogue landlords.