The government has been busy in the past few weeks with a flurry of information about upcoming initiatives that affect the lettings sector.
That includes some good news potentially on the horizon for landlords. Timelines for the upcoming changes to EPC requirements may be pushed back, and landlords may see some leniency in the new council tax rules around empty homes. Plus, new data shows that more guarantors are being requested when referencing tenants, and we share when we’d next expect an update on the Renters (Reform) Bill.
The government may push back the deadline for upgrading properties to an EPC band C
The government is expected to announce a delay to its plans to increase Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, according to the Financial Times. Housing Secretary Michael Gove has said that the government is “asking too much too quickly” of landlords. However, we still await confirmation on how much extra time landlords may have.
More guarantors are being requested than ever before
More landlords and agents are asking for guarantors on high earning tenants, according to Goodlord data, to help ensure more certainty for landlords. In 2020, 3.7% of tenants earning between £25,000 and £49,999 were asked for guarantors. This rose to 5.84% in 2023. More guarantors are also being requested for tenants earning between £50,000 and £74,999, with 1.35% asked in 2020 versus 1.92% in 2022.
Consultation on relaxing planned council tax rules for landlords
The government plans to give councils the power to charge a higher rate of council tax on properties that are left empty for longer than a year, rather than two years as is the case now. However, the government is currently consulting on proposals to give landlords an extra six months before becoming eligible for the higher rate. You can find the consultation on the government’s site.
Delay to the second reading of the Renters (Reform) Bill
Although Housing Secretary Michael Gove recently shared that the government would bring forward the Renters (Reform) Bill “shortly”, the Houses and Commons and Lords are currently in recess. That means that the Houses won’t meet to “conduct business” until after 4 September.