December 6, 2023 9:45 am

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Nikka Sulton

The Renters Reform Bill’s suggestion to replace Assured Shorthold Tenancies with rolling ‘periodic’ lets has sparked concerns about the potential risk to landlords’ properties. Nick Lyons, the managing director of inspection service NoLettingGo, points out that the current system with ASTs establishes a specific tenancy timescale, allowing landlords and agents to easily coordinate check-in, mid-term, and check-out inspections.

However, the proposed change could disrupt this streamlined process, introducing uncertainties in the management of properties. This shift may pose challenges for landlords and agents in maintaining effective inspection schedules, potentially impacting the overall condition and oversight of rental properties.

In a shift towards all lets adopting periodic tenancies, landlords face the challenge of diligently tracking tenancy durations and deciding on the optimal frequency for property inspections to ensure tenants uphold responsible care standards. Nick Lyons emphasizes that under a periodic tenancy, the termination occurs at the tenant’s discretion unless landlords fulfill specific eviction criteria. This newfound flexibility introduces the potential for extended intervals between the initiation and conclusion of a tenancy, spanning multiple years. This elongated timeline could pose practical challenges for landlords in maintaining consistent oversight of their properties.

The dynamics of periodic tenancies require landlords to adapt their property management strategies, considering the prospect of lengthy tenancies that may persist until tenants choose to vacate or specific eviction conditions are met. This shift adds complexity to ensuring property maintenance and tenant compliance over extended periods, prompting landlords to reconsider their inspection schedules and adapt to the evolving landscape of tenancy arrangements.

The absence of a stringent inspection regimen raises concerns for Lyons regarding the proper upkeep of properties during extended tenancies. Without regular monitoring, there is an increased risk of significant deterioration. He underscores the potential consequences, emphasizing that issues like damp and mold, which could be manageable with early detection, might evolve into costly repairs if the initial warning signs go unnoticed. This scenario poses substantial challenges for property owners who may face escalating maintenance costs and complexities associated with addressing issues that accumulate over time.

In the context of extended tenancies lacking regular scrutiny, Lyons highlights the heightened vulnerability of properties to substantial wear and tear. The potential for disrepair becomes more pronounced, particularly when issues that could have been addressed promptly, such as dampness and mold, are left unattended. The financial implications of overlooking early warning signs may extend beyond the initial neglect, requiring property owners to navigate intricate and costly repair processes that could have been mitigated with a more proactive and consistent inspection approach.

Introduced in May of this year, the Renters’ Reform Bill has been subjected to comprehensive scrutiny by MPs during its Committee Stage. While much attention has been directed towards the contentious proposal for the removal of Section 21 evictions, it’s noteworthy that this measure has been temporarily paused, awaiting the outcome of court process reforms. However, within the landscape of rental reforms, Nick Lyons emphasizes a less overt but significant risk emerging for landlords—a gradual shift towards longer tenancies.

This shift in tenancy duration, particularly towards rolling ‘periodic’ lets, is an aspect that requires careful consideration. As Lyons points out, the removal of a clear tenancy timescale, as seen in Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs), introduces challenges for landlords and agents in organizing regular check-ins, mid-term inspections, and check-outs. The periodic tenancy structure, where the tenancy only concludes when the tenant decides to leave or specific eviction criteria are met, introduces the possibility of extended periods between the commencement and conclusion of a tenancy.

In the contemporary property landscape, the importance of professional inventories and regular inspections cannot be overstated, as highlighted by industry expert Nick Lyons. The current challenges, such as higher mortgage rates and stringent affordability criteria, have created hurdles for prospective buyers, leading to prolonged tenancies in the rental sector. This shift in tenant behavior necessitates landlords to adopt a proactive approach, recognizing the need for comprehensive records from the outset. Lyons emphasizes the crucial role of a detailed, accurate, and reliable record at the initiation of a tenancy, serving as a foundational tool for landlords to assess any deterioration beyond the scope of normal wear and tear.

In response to the evolving dynamics of the property market, tenants are increasingly choosing to stay longer in rented properties. Lyons underscores the necessity for landlords to protect their investments by implementing routine inspections. These inspections, coupled with a professionally crafted inventory that tenants are obligated to acknowledge before moving in, form a robust strategy for landlords to navigate the challenges of extended tenancies. In a landscape where stringent regulations and market conditions prevail, proactive measures such as regular inspections become instrumental in maintaining the integrity of rental properties and ensuring landlords can address issues effectively.

As the property market continues to transform, Lyons advises landlords to recognize the shifting trends and adapt their strategies accordingly. By incorporating regular inspections alongside meticulous inventories, landlords can not only protect their investments but also foster a transparent and accountable relationship with tenants. This approach positions landlords to navigate the complexities of the rental market with resilience and ensures the long-term sustainability of their property portfolios.


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