A report from an online estate agent has found that half of UK landlords are not prepared for the Right to Rent legislation, set to come into force on 1 February 2016.
A survey of 5,000 landlords by urban.co.uk found 20% of landlords believed that they had until April 2017 to prepare for the changes, while 3% believed they had until 2018 to get ready.
The new legislation, already implemented in the West Midlands, will soon require all landlords and agents in England to check a tenant’s immigration status or ‘right to rent’ in the UK. A failure to prepare could leave landlords at serious financial risk, with potential fines of £3,000 if they do not comply.
The latest findings are revealed in Urban.co.uk’s Landlord Knowledge Survey Report. The report, which questioned private landlords on a number issues relating to the letting market, was undertaken to understand where there were gaps in the knowledge of UK landlords, as a raft of new legislation is coming into play in 2016, adding to the growing list of responsibilities for landlords.
Other key findings include:
Only 10% of landlords provide the correct information to tenants at the start of a lease.
The majority (90%) of landlords were unable to identify the characteristics of a House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO)
16% of landlords were putting themselves at serious financial risk by failing to provide a valid contact address on tenancy agreements; an action which could see contracts being deemed as null and void.
One reason to explain the lack of industry knowledge could be due to the rise in “accidental” landlords who rent property due to circumstance such as having inherited property. Rightmove’s consumer rental forecast in 2013 for instance found that 30% of UK landlords are now accidental landlords and this naturally means that many are inexperienced in the market place.
Adam Male, co-founder of urban.co.uk, said: “There has been an influx of new legislation relating to the rental market made in recent years and we know that UK landlords are struggling to keep on top of these changes. Despite knowing many of the basics, many find it difficult to navigate the minefield of changing renting rights and wrongs and this is particularly so for accidental landlords.”