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How will Brexit affect the Private Rented Sector?

We are in the middle of the biggest constitutional change in our country for decades with the vote for Brexit. How will this affect landlords, letting agents – and indeed anyone in the Private Rented Sector?

The first thing to say is that we don’t really know for sure! There is bound to be a period of uncertainty. However people will always need accommodation and accommodation is in short supply so I can’t see the future for landlords as being too bleak.

So far as the law is concerned, in the immediate future there is likely to be no change.

The 2016 legislation

We have had two important bills become law recently – the Immigration Act 2016 and the Housing & Planning Act 2016. However neither of these are currently in force and they will require detailed secondary legislation become anything can happen – this is particularly true of the Housing & Planning Act.

With the amount of work that Parliament is going to have to do dealing with re-negotiating all our trade agreements, it is likely that things such as this will take a back seat.

It is also possible that with a new Prime Minister there may be a different view on some policies – who knows? In any case there is going to have to be a new Immigration Act to deal with the new situation post Brexit. So the 2016 Immigration Act provisions may need to be revised.

Delays in other legislation

It is also very likely that other intended legislation will now not go forward.

For example there were ongoing discussions with the government about simplifying the current tenancy deposit rules. There were also proposals to extend HMO licensing. It is likely that these will either not now go ahead, or if they do, they will be seriously delayed.

Other housing related legislation planned is also likely to be pushed aside to allow time for the Brexit work.

EU Legislation

There is quite a lot of EU legislation which impacts on the private rented sector – for example

• the heat network regulations

• the Consumer Protection regulations relating to unfair trading such as property misdescriptions

• the Energy Performance regulations

• regulations relating to service provision to consumers by agents

It’s not clear how these will be dealt with. The easiest way would be for an act to be passed simply stating that the EU directives will continue as before. This would then allow Parliament to address each of the directives later and amend them as appropriate. But again – who knows?

Keep calm and carry on

The best thing for landlords to do right now is to sit tight and wait to see what will happen. At the time of writing this we do at least now know who our next Prime Minister will be. However we don’t know exactly what she will be doing and how our country will change. Apart from the fact that it looks as if there will be change!

So the best advice for landlords, letting agents and everyone in the private rented sector is to keep up to date with the news and follow the landlord press.

Good sources of help are:

• My Landlord Law blog

• My Critical Information emails service

• Nearly Legal blog

• Landlord Associations such as the NLA and the RLA

• Property Tribes and

• Property 118

Whatever happens, these are interesting times!

Tessa Shepperson is a lawyer and runs the respected Landlord Law information service and the Landlord Law blog.

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