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Election Shakes Up 2024 For Landlords: Preparing for Rental Reforms

With Prime Minister Rishi Sunak calling a snap general election for July 5th, the remainder of 2024 is shaping up to be a pivotal period for private landlords. The latest polls show Labour holding a strong lead, increasing the likelihood of their proposed rental market reforms being implemented should they take power.

While some of the more stringent policies around abolishing Section 21 "no-fault" evictions were put on hold earlier this year by the current government, a Labour win could see these plans revived and pushed through swiftly. This creates some near-term uncertainty, but also provides a window of opportunity for proactive landlords to get their businesses prepared.

Bolstering Compliance and Documentation At the top of the to-do list for the remainder of 2024 should be a comprehensive review of your compliance processes, documentation, and overall operating procedures as a landlord. With greater tenant protections and stricter enforcement likely under any reforms, the days of cutting corners or lackadaisical record-keeping need to end.

Work with your property managers (or bring one on board if self-managing) to ensure you have robust procedures and paper trails in place for:

·       Detailed inventory and inspection reports

·       Compliance certifications for all safety regulations

·       Clearly documented rent payment and arrears histories

·       Meticulous records of all tenant communications and issues

Essentially, you want to eliminate any "he said, she said" situations by operating under a model of radical transparency. This provides protection in case of disputes, while also allowing you to run a tighter, more professional ship from an operational standpoint.

Investing in Upgrades while you can!

A common theme across proposed rental reforms from all parties is increasing quality standards that properties must meet, especially around energy efficiency and overall amenity levels. This could take the form of minimum EPC ratings or blanket requirements for renovations and capital improvements.

While the specific mandates are still uncertain, prudent landlords should be proactively auditing their portfolio to identify potential issues and budgeting for any necessary upgrades. HMOs and property conversions may require the most work to bring outdated units up to new standards.

Some landlords may want to take advantage of the current regulatory environment to fast-track upgrading their properties before any new rules take effect. This could include financing renovations through remortgaging or accessing capital tied up in your portfolio.

Streamlining for Long-Term Growth with rental reforms potentially on the horizon, now is also an ideal time to take a step back and streamline your property business. Identify any underperforming or high-headache assets that may be better off being sold. Conversely, look for opportunities to simplify and scale your operations through practices such as:

·       Consolidating a scattered portfolio into one geographic area

·       Specialising in one asset class like HMOs or serviced accommodation

·       Outsourcing invoicing, maintenance and management to a third party

·       Standardising branding, marketing and tenant screening processes

The aim should be creating efficient systems and shifting your mindset from accidental landlord to operating a professional residential rental business. This allows you to more nimbly adapt to any legislative changes that come into force in the coming years. As property managers we can assist Landlords with that transition

Ultimately, while the outcome of the July 5th general election will be pivotal, the successful landlords will be those that view any disruption as an opportunity to refine and optimise their property investment activities. Stay the course, make contingency plans, and remain focused on generating consistent monthly income from your portfolio. Property is a marathon not a sprint and the best gains are often when one takes a long term view

If you have any questions about preparing your landlord business for potential rental reforms or want to discuss your long-term investment goals, reach out to our team. We work extensively with landlords throughout the West Midlands providing professional management, investment advice and portfolio building services.

Whichever party ends up in power, we'll ensure your property investing remains profitable and secure well into the future.


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