New Year Newsletter: What to expect in 2022
NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 2022
Well, we have made it to February.
Some of us will have made and broken New Years resolutions but hopefully we’re all feeling a bit happier that the longer evenings have started to reappear (it is now light in the South of the UK until around 5pm) and the real prospect of Spring just around the corner?!
I wanted to give you all an update on what is happening in the world of lettings…so here we go!
GOVERNMENT WHITE PAPER ON LEVELLING UP IN THE UK
Michael Gove, now the snappily titled ‘Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations’ has finally announced his road map for levelling up the UK. This includes information previously reported to you with the abolition of Section 21 notices amongst other things for a fairer rental sector. I could spend literally hours discussing as to why I think the sector is perfectly fair at present but will leave that for another day!
However it does transpire that the main white paper for rental reform, the Renters’ Reform Bill, will still contain the real mechanisms that will be required to push through the predicted changes to the rental sector. It looks as though this will now be published in the Springtime (delayed from Autumn of last year, then Winter and then the New Year!) which will give much more detail of the measures expected. These ‘could’ include a ‘Landlord Register’, higher thresholds for EPC levels as well as the much discussed abolition of Section 21 notices or so called ‘non fault’ evictions.
I will of course keep you updated as and when there is anything concrete in the offing. It is worth noting that the white paper is only the start of a long and lengthy legislative process and there will be lots of things that they may be discussing that never come to pass!
MAINTENACE REPORTING FOR TENANTS
Something potentially quite exciting for Town and Country Property Services is that we have just signed up to FixFlo. FixFlo is an online maintenance reporting platform whereby tenants can go direct to the portal and input the issues they are experiencing.
For example if a tenant has a WC that has a leak it will take them through a menu that will also have basic information to ‘try first’ which will hopefully reduce the amount of spurious maintenance calls. There is nothing more frustrating to you, or indeed us, when a contractor attends for something exceptionally minor that could and should have been resolved by the tenants themselves. We will have site of all jobs logged so will have an extra layer of processes but it should give tenants a virtual platform they can use with direct links to useful videos and the contractors direct.
We will also be able to log unresolved jobs and chase contractors accordingly and it gives us tools such as requesting public liability insurance and industry qualifications that are required from contractors; so helps us with our compliance checks.
We have spoken to our colleagues at RDA Estates for our jointly managed properties and rest assured that no change is expected in this relationship as any maintenance from jointly managed properties will always be directed to them.
We are trialling the system for 12 months to see if it is a benefit and, if we feel it is not as user friendly as sold and researched, then we will make a decision as to whether we continue to use the platform.
RENT GUARANTEE INSURANCE
Finally I wanted to just highlight that we are currently negotiating with a range of providers for insurance products for non-payment of rent and legal expense protection. This would essentially mean that were tenants not to pay their rent then this policy would kick in and pay your rent and cover legal costs to recover possession of the property. Some of our clients already have this in place.
Whilst we really do not have the issues of many agents, mainly due to good communication with your tenants, of rent arrears I cannot help but think that the past two years may, at some point, have a knock on effect on people’s finances.
With inflation running at over 5% in the UK, and energy prices looking set to soar, it may be something to consider for your portfolio. Once I have more details from some providers I will be in touch. I am hoping to secure favourable terms/costs should many landlords wish to put this in place.
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