Any improvement which delivers a fairer, better and more affordable rental sector should be applauded.
However, I was amazed recently to read that the number of regulations that landlords have to adhere to has risen to 156. According to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), the figure has gone up by almost a third since 2010.
Just think about that for a moment. Some 156 regulations, each with its own rules, guidelines and directives which have to be followed. That’s a colossal amount of information for anyone to retain.
New acts introduced
In the last 18 months alone we’ve seen the launch of the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2019, the Tenant Fees Act 2019 and the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018.
We’ve also seen the introduction of the Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Mandatory Conditions for Licences) (England) Regulations 2018, the Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018 and the Data Protection Act 2018.
As the RLA points out, the list is by no means an exhaustive record of all of the acts and regulations that landlords have to pay attention to; it only includes those that create a specific obligation on providers of homes in the private rented sector.
It doesn’t include any regulations or acts that overlap with general duties of businesses, tax, welfare payments (besides housing benefits), or court procedures and rules.
Although the buy to let sector has become increasingly professionalised in recent years with more landlords running their businesses as a commercial concern, there are still hundreds of thousands of ‘part-time’ landlords out there, letting out their properties as a way to top up their income or boost their pension pot.
It makes me wonder how on earth they’re meant to absorb it all. I’m concerned that if the market is tangled up in red tape, many good, conscientious landlords might be put off providing the homes to rent that the country needs.
However, as a lender, it’s not up to us to create and enforce the laws. All we can do is try to make life as easy as possible for you and your customers by giving you one less thing to worry about.
Brokers who have got their fingers on the pulse can play a vital role in helping their customers find their way through the regulatory maze. It’s why we place such emphasis and invest so much time and effort in making sure they’ve got access to the support needed when placing cases.
So while new regulations continue to come thick and fast, it’s good for you to know that there’s support there if ever you need it.