October 11, 2023 8:20 am

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Nikka Sulton

The Renters Reform Bill, currently awaiting its Second Commons Reading, is prompting inventory clerks to take on a crucial role in protecting landlords from possible fines. This bill intends to extend the Decent Homes Standard from social housing to the Private Rented Sector.

Nick Lyons, the managing director of NoLettingGo, a property inspection firm, asserts that inventory clerks are uniquely positioned to professionally evaluate a property’s condition. Their role involves meticulously documenting the state of a property, which aligns with the standards the Renters Reform Bill aims to enforce.

The proposed legislation seeks to enhance living conditions in the Private Rented Sector, and inventory clerks can ensure that landlords meet these standards. By maintaining detailed records of a property’s state, they help landlords address any issues promptly, reducing the risk of fines.

Inventory clerks’ expertise can be instrumental in ensuring that properties meet the Decent Homes Standard, making them valuable allies for landlords navigating the changing landscape of the rental market.

“We already conduct pre-tenancy, mid-term, and end-of-tenancy assessments, providing comprehensive reports. Expanding this service to include an evaluation of the ‘Decent Standard’ is a logical extension.”

The 2021 English Housing Survey reveals that 23% of private rental sector homes fall below the ‘decent’ standard.

Renters Reform Bill PenaltiesA recent analysis by the Home Builders’ Federation showed that homes in England are less affordable and in worse condition compared to many other developed countries, including Hungary, Poland, and Lithuania.

The proposed measures in the Bill introduce a landlords’ Property Portal where all landlords must register their properties and confirm compliance with the Decent Homes Standard. False declarations could result in fines of up to £30,000.

The standard, currently applicable to the social sector, mandates homes to be free from safety hazards, in good repair, equipped with necessary facilities, and adequately heated.

Lyons emphasizes, “While some specifics are still in the works, it’s clear that the government aims to introduce more regulations and minimum standards in the PRS, covering issues like damp, mold, and energy efficiency.”

He adds, “Inventory clerks, who already furnish professional reports to letting agents and landlords, are well-suited to protect landlords by identifying potential problems before they escalate into legal issues.”

With many landlords residing abroad or having other commitments, keeping a close eye on all properties in their portfolio can be challenging. Lyons believes that “Regular inspections will become a vital component of any lettings business. A logical extension of the inventory service, given that clerks are already making regular property visits.” 

This proactive approach is seen as a valuable way to safeguard landlords and ensure that properties under their care meet the new standards, helping them avoid potential fines and legal issues.

In addition to these practical benefits, the collaboration between landlords and inventory clerks is expected to bring positive changes to the rental market’s overall quality. Regular inspections not only help address issues promptly but also promote a higher standard of rental properties, benefiting both tenants and landlords alike.

Furthermore, the Renters Reform Bill is likely to create a more transparent and accountable rental market. The introduction of a Property Portal for landlords to register properties and confirm compliance with the Decent Homes Standard enhances visibility and regulatory oversight. This increased transparency is a step towards ensuring that landlords and tenants are operating within a well-regulated environment, fostering better relationships and trust within the rental sector. It’s clear that inventory clerks’ roles are becoming pivotal in this evolving landscape, providing a win-win solution for all parties involved.

As the Renters Reform Bill progresses, landlords are recognizing the importance of proactive collaboration with inventory clerks to navigate the changing regulatory environment. This partnership not only minimizes the risk of fines but also contributes to a more professional and accountable rental market. The evolving role of inventory clerks is expected to shape the industry positively, ensuring that rental properties are well-maintained and meet the new standards, while also fostering a sense of security and transparency for both landlords and tenants in an increasingly regulated Private Rented Sector.


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