Standards improve in Private Rental properties

15 November 2018

Recent statistics released by Axa Insurance (Aug 2018) have shown Landlords to be acting in response to regulatory changes, and the standards of privately rented properties increasing.

There have been a large number of changes brought in recently by the government, aimed at improving the conditions for renters and ensuring landlord’s comply with their obligations. I have written about these changes previously, including Gas and Fire Safety, Energy Performance standards, changes to Stamp Duty, mortgage interest tax relief, ‘wear and tear’ tax allowances, and a proposed compulsory Landlord’s Ombudsman scheme.

I have commented on the added regulatory burden placed on Landlords and the challenges posed; some Landlords have been forced out of the market due to the changes! There has also been doubt as to whether these changes will actually have the positive effects which the government seeks.

It is nice, therefore, to have some statistics to show that the changes have actually made a difference.

Axa Insurance have monitored the standards over a four year period and have seen significant improvements. The statistics show a huge rise in energy-saving features and smart meter installations, with 70% of rental properties now in the top Energy Performance bands A-C. Only 3% remain in the bottom bands F or G.

Regulations from April 2018 made it unlawful to place new tenants in a property below an E rating. It appears that Landlords are acting.

There is still a lot of work to do. Just over half (58%) of properties have an annual gas safety inspection, despite it being mandatory (an increase from 30%). 41% of tenants also report not to have smoke alarms installed. Again this is a legal requirement! Looking for the positives again, this is an improvement from the reported 58% in 2014!

Further figures show 81% of tenants are now provided with a Tenancy Agreement.

Iain Blundell, Solicitor in our Landlord and Tenant department, comments:

“Whilst these figures should be welcomed as improvements, there is clearly still work to be done! Landlords must ensure that they comply with the regulations, otherwise they are severely hampered when it comes to dealing with problem tenants. Failure to provide necessary documents can render a Section 21 Notice worthless. It is so important that Landlords take proper expert advice at the earliest opportunity”.

Are you a landlord? Or Letting Agent? Do you need advice to ensure you are compliant? Do you need advice on problem tenants, tenancy agreements, or property matters?

We can assist with a wide range of Landlord and Tenant enquiries – please contact our experts on 01254 297130.