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Back with a bang, delayed licensing, deep cleaning, and the Tenant Fees Act (part II)

an image of a row of properties
04 June 2020

By UKinsuranceNET In News

It’s all systems go as the housing market springs back into life after the enforced lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.

As the market comes out of its period of unnatural hibernation, there is not only pent up demand – from homeowners and tenants – but also news that is now bubbling to the surface.

Here are some of the latest tidbits.

Property market back with a bang

It was a record for popular online listings site Rightmove, for example.

Earlier this week, Property Reporter Today revealed that Rightmove had notched up its busiest day ever on the 27th of May when it received more than six million visits in a single day – 18% higher than those recorded on the same Wednesday in 2019.

The time spent visiting Rightmove’s site also scored a high of a combined total of 47 million minutes on the 23rd of May.

Even people who had not been planning a move before the lockdown began now seem to have found an interest – with 28% of those visitors saying they are now looking for a home.

Councils delay introduction of licensing schemes

Plans by some local authorities to extend selective licensing schemes for private rented accommodation have been put on hold while coronavirus measures remain in place, reported the Residential Landlords’ Association last week.

Wirral Council’s plans to extend selective licensing to parts of Birkenhead and Seacombe with effect from the 1st of July, for example, have now been put back until the 1st of October.

Likewise, the London Borough of Islington has announced a six-month delay on the implementation of recently approved plans for an additional licensing scheme for the borough as a whole and a selective licensing scheme for the ward of Finsbury Park.

Despite the government urging councils to postpone the introduction of new licensing schemes for at least six months, local authorities such as the London Borough of Waltham Forest and Coventry Council have nevertheless gone ahead.

House sellers warned to virally deep clean properties

The housing market has opened to pent up demand from buyers, but they are naturally wary of any lingering infection, warned Property Wire on the 1st of June.

The article reveals that some potential buyers have expressed safety concerns and urges would-be sellers to arrange for the home to be deep cleaned to rid the property of all traces of the virus to secure a sale.

Just as new owners are likely to change the locks of a house they just bought, so they will also expect their new home to have been cleaned – preferably by fumigation processes that claim to kill 99.999% of germs.

The second part of the Tenant Fees Act comes into force

In all the excitement of a market on the move again and landlords eager to fill voids that might have occurred during the recent lockdown, you might be forgiven for overlooking the second stage in the implementation of the Tenant Fees Act.

A story in Mortgage Strategy recently reminds landlords that the provisions of the Act now extend to all new and existing tenancies. The first part of the process, introduced in June last year, saw the introduction of a ban in any new tenancy on any fees charged to tenants, except for rent, deposits, and other closely defined services. The 1st of June this year marked the extension of that ban to all tenancies – including existing tenancies – in the private rented sector.

Landlords may face penalties of up to £30,000 for breaches of the new law, which bans fees for services such as taking up references, immigration and financial checks, viewings, and administrative costs.

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