The heat is on for the small minority of rogue landlords as Housing Minister Kris Hopkins launched a new on-the-move guide to give private rented sector tenants the need to know rental rights at their fingertips.
Mr Hopkins said that encouraging a new generation of well-informed tenants with easy access to useful and understandable information would help root out the small minority of rogues and raise the game of any landlords who don’t know what is expected of them.
The launch comes as the government confirmed plans to require all letting agents to publish a full tariff of their fees - both on their websites and prominently in their offices. Anyone who does not comply with these new rules will face a fine – a much stricter penalty than currently exists.
This is part of the government’s wider work to bring clarity and fairness to the system and ensure that England’s 9 million private rented sector tenants have the knowledge to hold their landlord to account, without introducing excessive regulation which would force up rents and reduce choice.
And this is on top of additional measures being brought forward to provide magistrates’ courts with the power to impose unlimited fines on landlords found guilty of not meeting their responsibilities, such as failing to carry out essential improvement works to a property or continuing to rent out a property which the council has ruled is not fit for habitation
How to rent
The How to rent guide will help tenants when they’re looking for a new home as it can be viewed on the move on their smartphones and tablets and includes:
- advice and information on tenancy deposit schemes, bill payments and tenancy length
- a checklist of what the landlord must provide tenants, including gas certificate and deposit paperwork
- information on the requirements of the landlord to maintain the structure of the property and give tenants at least 24 hours’ notice before entering the property
- the legal requirements for landlords and tenants on ending tenancies and returning deposits
Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said:
This government is turning up the heat on the small minority of rogue landlords that are not playing by the rules and giving tenants a rough deal.
The new ‘How to rent’ guide will give tenants the knowledge they need at their fingertips and help raise the game of landlords who may not know what is expected of them.
We are doing all of this without the need for excessive state regulation that would destroy investment in new housing, push up prices and make it far harder for people to find a flat or house to rent.
The private rental sector is vital asset to the country and this government is determined to get Britain building and boost investment in the sector.
The new £1 billion Build to Rent fund helps developers build homes specifically for the private rented sector, and is on track to have work underway on up to 10,000 new homes by 2015.
In addition to this the government ‘s housing guarantee scheme is supporting up to £10 billion worth of investment finance in large-scale private rented projects and additional affordable housing.
The How to rent guide is available to download and read.
The government has already introduced new legislation which will require all letting and managing agents in England to belong to an approved redress scheme ensuring tenants and leaseholders have a straightforward option to hold their agents to account.
Other measures in the pipeline include:
- a new code to set standards for the management of property in the private rented sector - with a view to making it statutory
- the introduction of a voluntary, model tenancy agreement, which landlords and tenants can use for longer tenancies, which will provide extra security and stability for families
- extra guidance for local councils on tackling rogue landlords, protecting tenants from illegal evictions and how best to push for harsher penalties before magistrates for housing offences