It’s been a big news month for the lettings industry – a trend that looks set to continue throughout the spring. At the beginning of the month, the government announced that the energy price cap will increase on 1 April 2022. It also released its Levelling Up White Paper, which included several proposals for reforming the private rented sector. More recently, the government has announced two changes to right to rent checks, including an extension to the temporary adjusted checks that were introduced in the first lockdown. See below for more details on the changes and, as always, feel free to get in touch if you have any questions on these or other changes.
Energy price cap set to increase from 1 April 2022
The government has announced that the energy price cap will rise by 54% on 1 April, affecting over 75% of households. This means an average £693 increase in energy bills to £1,971 in spring 2022. Bills already increased by an average of 12% in October, and this latest jump is estimated to push more households over the fuel-poverty threshold as the energy crisis continues. Households on prepayment metres will see a larger increase of £708 from £1,309 to £2,017 per year. The government also revealed plans for households to receive up to £350 to reduce the pressure of the rising cost of living, with £200 off energy bills of domestic electricity customers from October.
If you have any questions or concerns about how the increase to the energy price cap might affect you or your tenants, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
New digital right to rent checks and extension of temporary adjusted checks
Two announcements on right to rent were made in February. The first was that from 6 April 2022, lettings legislation will change to allow letting agents and landlords to use certified Identity Service Providers (IDSPs) to digitally check the identity and eligibility of British and Irish citizens to rent a property in England. Although the IDSPs will essentially act on a letting agent or landlord’s behalf to carry out the right to rent check on an individual, letting agents and landlords are still responsible for the check taking place and will need to ensure that they are only using a certified provider. Also from 6 April 2022, all biometric card holders will be required to use the Home Office online service to evidence their right to rent.
The second announcement was that the government has deferred the end date for the temporary adjusted right to rent checks until 30 September 2022. The process for right to rent checks was adjusted at the beginning of the pandemic so that letting agents or landlords didn’t have to carry out the checks in person. The temporary adjusted right to rent checks allow letting agents or landlords to carry out right to rent checks over video calls instead, with tenants sending scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than having to show the documents in person.
Renters’ reforms announced in Levelling Up White Paper
The government’s Levelling Up White Paper confirmed that a package of reforms for the private rented sector in England are on the horizon, with further detail to be announced in the spring. The Levelling Up White Paper stated that proposals under consideration include the abolishment of Section 21; new minimum standards for rental homes, including ways to address homes with poor energy efficiency; the introduction of a national landlord register; and providing tenants with a “strong right to redress”. To make these reforms a reality, the government has said that it will consult on the impact of the private rented market, particularly for those on the lowest incomes. We will keep you updated as more information on the proposals comes to light.
All the best, The Revive Property Team
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