Property News Round-Up – January 17, 2019

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This week – the government reveals when the ban on tenant fees will start,  more money is released to tackle rogue landlords and a Universal Credit U-Turn.

Tenant fees ban set to start June 1

The ban on letting agents and landlords charging buy to let renters fees to start or change a tenancy begin from June 1.

Government spokesman Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth revealed the date after the Tenants Fee Bill passed a third reading in the House of Lords.

“We need to enable agents and landlords to become compliant and we intend the provisions to come into force on June 1, 2019,” he said in the Lords.

“This would mean the ban on lettings fees would apply to all tenancies signed after this date.

“The sector has been waiting for legislative certainty and agents now need to ensure that they are fully up to speed and taking steps to implement changes.”

Besides banning fees for credit checks, references and admin charges such as taking inventories and drafting tenancy agreements, the Bill limits landlords and letting agents to charging one week’s rent as a holding deposit and five weeks’ rent for security deposits.

£2.4m to tackle bad landlords

Housing minister Heather Wheeler is funding the fight against rogue landlords by releasing an extra £2.4 million.

The money will go to 50 councils to fund extra staff, training and technology tools to tackle the problem.

Projects financed by the extra money include flying drones with thermal imaging cameras to identify overcrowded homes.

“Everyone has the right to live in a home that is safe and secure, and it is vital we crack down on the small minority of landlords who are not giving their tenants this security,” said Wheeler.

“This extra funding will further boost councils’ ability to root out rogue landlords and ensure that poor-quality homes in the area are improved, making the housing market fairer for everyone.”

Universal Credit U-turn

Universal Credit rules will change so buy to let rents can be paid direct to landlords instead of tenants.

Housing and Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said: “The measures will ensure that landlords can receive rent from those on Universal Credit directly into their accounts. This important change will help strengthen the choices and opportunities available for those on Universal Credit to secure the homes they and their families need.”

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