A round up of what 2021 has meant for landlords

2021 has been another unusual year, as the pandemic and the Government’s response have continued to impact the economy and individuals in many ways.

Although the lettings industry has survived very well, there have been numerous changes to laws, rules and regulations. So here’s our round up of what’s changed in 2021 and what you need to keep an eye out for in 2022.

January

On 28 January, the Government’s model tenancy agreement (for England) was updated to give tenants the right to keep a pet in their rented home.

If you use this assured shorthold tenancy (AST) for your tenants (and few do as it is over 65 pages long!) and object to having a pet in the property, you have to respond to your tenant’s request within 28 days, giving a good reason, such as that the property isn’t suitable for the type of pet they want.

Note that it’s only the model tenancy agreement which has changed, there has been no change in the law, but it seems likely that it may change in the future.

And with only around seven per cent of private landlords currently advertising that they accept pets and tenant demand for pet-friendly homes up by 120 per cent  over the last year (according to Rightmove), it’s worth considering welcoming furry (and other) companions.

Also this month, the Government announced it’s going to start acting on some of the leasehold reform recommendations made by the Law Commission in summer 2020.

They’ve pledged to start by ending ground rents for all new leasehold properties and giving owners of leasehold properties the right to extend their lease at zero cost – although no timescale was given.

February

On 4 February, the Government launched its pilot free mediation service for landlords and tenants in England going through the eviction process.

The aim was to help them reach an agreement without having to go to court.

The pilot has now ended and the service is currently withdrawn – however, if you need to evict your tenant, you can consult either our Property Redress Scheme mediation service or Landlord Action for advice and help gaining possession as smoothly as possible.

“To support landlords in response to the rise in tenant rent arrears during the pandemic, we set up our own mediation service, which has secured agreed rent repayment plans and successfully led to voluntary surrendering of tenancies. We’ve extended our service to cover other issues that can arise during the course of a tenancy and it will continue to grow in response to changes to redress in the private rented sector.

Contact us to find out how it works.”

– Mike Morgan, Legal Division Manager, HF Assist and Mediation