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Landlord Law Newsround #274 » The Landlord Law Blog

Landlord Law Blog Newsround Another week and another Newsround. Let’s see what’s been happening in the news this week.

New law to ease broadband upgrade blocks

A new law has been passed that allows broadband companies to gain access to blocks of flats in order to provide faster broadband where a tenant has requested an upgrade. The Telecommunications Infrastructure (leasehold property) Act should enable an additional 2,100 residential buildings a year to be upgraded, according to the government.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez says benefits will be seen in tenanted flats where landlords obstruct access or just don’t respond. Previously tenants has to wait for their landlord’s permission for a faster broadband connection.

Nothing should stop people from seizing the benefits of better broadband, whether it is an unresponsive landlord or a property developer’s failure to act. Millions of renters will no longer be prevented from getting a broadband upgrade due to the silence of their landlord.

The law creates a new route through the courts that operators can use to access blocks of flats and apartments. You can read more here.

Petition grows to reverse S24 tax changes

Leading agents and landlords alike pushing a petition that is calling for the Section 24 changes to the buy-to-let tax to be scrapped. It has been launched by Simon Foster a Midlands landlord who is asking for landlords to be able to offset their mortgage costs against their tax.

Guy Gittens, Foxtons Chief Executive says

Back in 2017, as the Government started to phase out landlords’ ability to offset their interest payments against rental income, experts warned that some landlords would either increase rent prices out of necessity, or simply leave the market. Keeping private landlords in the market is critical to addressing London’s rental supply issues.

Section 24 is just one component affecting rising rent prices in London, and just one of the many steps our government ought to review in balancing the unhealthy supply and demand metrics.

The Property Industry Eye also reports on the same issue saying the gradual changes to mortgage interest relief, wear and tear allowance and the 3% stamp duty surcharge impacts heavily on landlords profits and is partly to blame why so many landlords are exiting the market.

The director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr says

Rather than commit to solving the housing crisis and build more homes, the government has looked to bring about a short term fix by forcing landlords to sell up and exit the buy-to-let sector. This has been orchestrated via a number of legislative changes designed to dampen the financial returns available to investors.

Of course, the consequence of this is a reduction in suitable rental properties and with the sector already in dire need of more stock, it’s the nation’s tenants who are paying the price. High demand is already pushing rents ever higher and as more landlords exit, this problem will only get worse while the quality of available accommodation will also continue to decline.

He goes onto to say

We’re urging the government to reconsider just one of their recent changes and allow landlords to once again deduct their mortgage interest from their rental income and we’re not alone. A survey of our landlord base found that 73% of those who have plans to exit the sector would refrain from doing so if these changes were reversed.

It’s time the government realises that the nation’s landlords are the backbone of the private rental sector, but it’s simply not realistic to expect them to play such a vital role if it’s not financially viable.

You can sign the petition here.

‘Good Landlord’ Scheme launches

Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester’s labour Mayor has launched a ‘good landlord’ scheme and is recruiting 10 people initially to enforce it. The trainees will learn about housing enforcement, how to use enforcement and act accordingly and how best to advise landlords of their responsibilities. They will also work to help struggling tenants who have issues with their rented homes, such as damp, cold or structurally unsound. The trainee will work towards two nationally recognised qualifications.

Andy Burnham says

Hundreds of thousands of people living in the private rented sector in Greater Manchester rely on their landlords to uphold a decent standard and look after their homes. When those things are done properly, tenants can get on with their lives – but when they’re not, it can take a huge toll on their physical and mental wellbeing. In the very worst cases, it can pose a serious threat to their safety.

That’s when housing enforcement officers have a vital role to play in supporting tenants and taking enforcement action against unscrupulous landlords. The Good Landlord Scheme is one way that we’re responding to this growing issue, by boosting the capacity of our local councils to carry out inspections and intervene.

Trafford council is the first council to sign up, and they hope this will help rented homes to be properly maintained. You can read more here.

Anti-Money Laundering rules add confusion

Letting agents are at loggerheads with their banks re the AML regulations and some have had their accounts closed or restricted as they do not manage properties with rental incomes of 10,000.00 euros. Banks are insisting that they perform Customer Due Diligence to the level set out in the AML Regulations, but they are arguing that they do not need to do so.

Propertymark are asking for the UK government to remove this threshold altogether to create consistency and cover all tenancies that are let within the private sector, thus requiring all letting agents to register with the HMRC for AML Supervision.

You can read more on this article here.

Property Redress Scheme reaches record numbers

Big congratulations to the PRS who are now the largest redress scheme with more than 13,250 legging agency branches.  In 2022 they dealt with 2,000 complaints from tenants, landlords and buyers and sellers and awarded £850,000 in compensation. They have further enhanced their services with an advisory panel and a member panel bringing with it new members chair positions and forums.

Sean Hooker, Head of the Redress at the PRS said

We’re approaching our second decade of redress and have industry leading expertise as a result.  We recognise the expertise of our members too and that’s why we want them to help us with their feedback, guidance, advise and support. The member panel gives them that opportunity as well as enabling them to engage with other panel members to share knowledge and raise standards.


Newsround will be back next week.

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