17 September 2015, A leading figure in the UK lettings industry wants politicians to lay off the sector and stop overloading it with confusion.
Lisa Simon, head of lettings for national property consultancy Carter Jonas, says recent confusion over whether or not smoke alarm regulations would be implemented came on top of important changes to Section 21 notices for possession, all to be implemented on October 1. Landlords and letting agents still face further changes after Prime Minister David Cameron insisted “Right to Rent” legislation covering lettings to immigrants would come into effect this autumn as well.
“There is just too much change to absorb at short notice,” says Mrs Simon. “The House of Lords decided there had not been enough consultation on smoke and CO alarm legislation and rejected it with three weeks to go.
“Landlords thought they had a reprieve in meeting the deadline only to find this week that the legislation had gone through with exactly two weeks to the deadline so those who prevaricated now need to rush to avoid possible £5,000 fines.
“On top of this, Section 21 notice rules are supposed to have been clarified but many people are still unclear about them despite the October 1 implementation date.
“Last December, a trial of rules that required landlords and lettings agents to check the immigration status of all tenants was introduced in the West Midlands. After the election, David Cameron revealed that the national roll-out would take place this autumn. Well, autumn is here and no-one has any idea what is going on.
“We can’t carry on suffering rushed legislation, even where it is being pushed through with good intentions. But Right to Rent coming in now, with so many people on the move across Europe to claim refugee status and what some have unkindly called swarms of people trying to cross from France, would be an absolute nightmare. It must not go ahead until things are more settled, both in terms of population movement and discovering just how effective the trial period has been.
“I would plead with the political classes to leave the lettings sector alone until the new year at least while the October 1 changes have a chance to bed down.”