The property rental market is always changing, and 2020 is no exception. Here are some of the things you need to know as a tenant or landlord.
Changing rules for renting with pets
Right now, it’s hard to find rented accommodation that allows you to keep pets. Most landlords explicitly state in their contracts that tenants are not allowed to keep animals on the property.
The government, however, thinks that should change and is pushing forward with moves to encourage landlords to allow people to keep their dogs, cats and whatever else on the property with them. Only 4 per cent of landlord currently allow pets for any kind on their properties, with just 2.7 per cent of flat rentals allowing pets.
Zero deposit schemes
Currently, most landlords insist that you pay a deposit – a big chunk of money that they can hold onto for security if you end up trashing the place. Actual deposit amounts are high, often the equivalent of several months’ rent, so putting down a deposit on a rental property can be a substantial financial challenge for many people. The landlord eventually hands back the deposit at the end of the tenancy, but that is a long time for a tenant’s capital to be in the hands of another person.
Zero deposit schemes are new arrangements that hope to get around this thorny issue. Here, you pay the equivalent of a week’s rent to a third-party company, and then it guarantees the landlord up to six months rent if you cause any damage. It is, therefore, a kind of insurance scheme that prevents tenants from having to pay hefty, upfront fees.
The renters’ reform bill
During the Queen’s Speech 2019 following the December general election, she outlined the government’s plan for renter reform.
The new bill will mean significant changes for landlords.
First, they will no longer be able to evict renters without good cause. At the moment, landlords only have to give renters eight weeks notice after their fixed term comes to an end.
Second, the bill gives landlords more legal power to remove problem tenants if they can provide good reasons for their decisions.
And third, the new bill will begin a lifetime deposit scheme for renters where they can transfer deposit amounts from one property to the next, without having to stump up the cash each time they move.
The new bill follows hot on the heels of the Tenant Reform Act of 2019, which prevented letting agents from charging tenants separate fees for carrying out credit checks and references.
Credit scoring will include rental payments
A person’s credit score relates to their ability to repay traditional loans and credit card bills. Until recently, however, credit scoring companies did not include rental payments in their creditworthiness calculations (since, strictly speaking, rental payments are not a repayment of a loan). In 2020, however, that will all change. Companies like Experian are already rewarding those who make punctual rental payments with higher scores, and other rating agencies are expected to follow suit soon with schemes of their own.