• Published: 3rd Jan 22
  • Category: News

A very Happy New Year to you!

As is my tradition before I begin my New Year articles, I had a read of previous year’s. In reviewing 2019, we had no inkling of what was to hit us in 2020, where as in 2021 we were a little more forewarned.

That said, I don’t think any of us could have prepared for the tumultuous months ahead. From the vaccine roll out in those early months to the Omicron variant knocking us flat just as we were beginning to pick ourselves up and look forward to a boosted and relaxed Christmas.

But there are we are. No doubt there will be more developments as we move through 2022 although I sense that we are all starting to accept that it is what it is, and that this is perhaps the beginning of the end. The fortitude of humankind is that we can adapt and become stronger each time.

That is particularly true for landlords and all of us working in the private rented sector! It would be easy to bemoan each new set of regulations or legislation as it comes into force, but we accept the reasons for them and embrace them every time.

I suppose we should be grateful that the government have been busy dealing with the pandemic over the last year, that they have largely left the sector alone. Aside from the restrictions on notice periods we didn’t see any significant changes.

Of course, this can only mean one thing. Brace yourselves for 2022!

So, what are we expecting?

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Amendment Regulations

This one is definitely coming and as they are amendment regs they’ll happen pretty quickly. We posted on this in our article at the end of November but broadly speaking the intention is to give greater clarity over responsibility for the maintenance and replacement of faulty alarms, along with a requirement to install Carbon Monoxide alarms in all rooms with gas appliances (except cookers). I can’t see many landlords disagreeing with the sentiment behind this.

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

Next up is the plan to increase minimum energy standards from an E to a C, probably by the end of 2025 for new tenancies. This is actually quite a significant piece of legislation if it comes in.

Not a problem if you own a property built within the last 20 years but anything much older and you are likely to need to think about how you can increase the energy efficiency of the property.

Funnily enough this was one of the main work topics of conversation at our Christmas party (I know, could we be more boring?) and the general worry is that if you seal up a property so it’s nice and warm, with no occupier ventilation, you are practically inviting condensation and black spot mould to also move in.

It needs some careful planning and with the deadline just 3 years away, it is one that needs considering sooner rather than later. Even if there is a change of government, it’s not going away.

Pets in Lets

The direction of travel here is clear. The starting point is likely to be that you cannot withhold consent for a pet and for many landlords this won’t really be an issue. Those of you that own apartments or properties that are generally unsuitable may find it is a different story.

There are no draft bills or legislation published yet so we can’t know how they intend to deal with issues such as anti-social behaviour i.e the dog that is left on its own at home all day, yapping.

Tenant Fees Act

This has been around for 2 ½ years now which is just enough time for us to start to see decisions from Court cases and Tribunals coming through. Unsurprisingly many landlords have breached the Act without any malice but just through general ignorance. The law of course does not distinguish and some have found themselves with hefty penalties.

Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016

After various delays it is a certainty that this will come into force during 2022. It will only affect those with properties in Wales and will replace the Housing Acts. It is a major piece of legislation, not least because of the terminology changes. Occupation contracts will replace tenancy agreements and tenants will become contract holders.

We do manage properties in Wales so we will be studying hard to understand these changes and the impact it will have for our Welsh Landlords.

Stuarts Residential

As for us, well we have a busy year planned with some exciting projects in the pipeline as well as continuing to strive to provide our landlord clients and their tenants with the highest standard of care.

We will always be happy to help landlords, client or not, with any advice on issues they are facing, so please do give us a call if you are in need.

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We have reached the point where I should leave you with words of optimism and comfort for the year ahead. But I have learnt my lesson. So, for now, I shall just wish you a peaceful and Happy New Year.

I wonder what I will be writing this time next year ……

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