The paused Renters’ Reform Bill should include measures to make independent inventories compulsory in every tenancy agreement.
The controversial and long-awaited Bill was due to be introduced into the House of Commons last week but the move was delayed for what the Government described as ‘procedural reasons.’
Now, chair of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks, Daniel Evans, has called on Ministers to take this opportunity to add strict regulations making the use of independent inventories by landlords and letting agents mandatory.
The Renters’ Reform Bill has been described as the most radical reform of the Private Rented Sector for a decade.
The proposals laid out in the Bill are believed to include:
- The abolition of Section 21 (so-called ‘no-fault’) evictions;
- The introduction of a Decent Homes Standard for the PRS;
- A Government-appointed Ombudsman;
- Restrictions on landlords’ ability to put up rents
It is generally believed that the Bill addresses imbalances within the PRS which hitherto favoured landlords.
But Evans believes this new legislation is the perfect opportunity to include a reform which would be independent of both landlord and tenant.
“Inventory companies have the capability of being the only truly independent agencies operating throughout the lettings process,” he said.
“It is clear the Government wants to ‘professionalise’ the PRS and this is an obvious place to start. Ministers should take this opportunity to include a clause which makes independent inventory mandatory.
High degree of professionalism
“Then, in the event of a dispute, the inventory will be valuable evidence to offer to the deposit protection scheme provider.
“But if this process is going to have credibility for the tenant as well as the landlord, that inventory must be curated by an independent agency.
“This increase in transparency is not just about tenants. Landlords, too, can benefit from utilising the services of a professional independent inventory clerk to improve the service for everyone.”
Evans’ call comes after new data suggests the number of landlords planning to sell rented properties has reached its highest rate on record.
Polling by research consultancy BVA-BDRC found that in Q1 2023, 33% of private landlords in England and Wales said they planned to cut the number of properties they rent out. This is an all-time high recorded by BVA-BDRC and is up from the 20% who said they planned to cut the number of properties they let in Q1 2022. This comes despite demand being at a record high with landlords blaming taxation policy, high interest rates and legislation for their withdrawal from the market. It is estimated that 65,000 properties were offloaded by landlords in the first quarter of 2023.
Leave a Comment