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Compliance Update – April 2023

Lettings Market Update

It has been a strong first quarter of the year and it’s hard to believe it is already behind us. The Lettings market has remained strong for Landlords due to demand for lettable properties being as high as ever. I am forever hearing stories of multiple offers on properties and many going well over asking price.

The hard work we have put in here at Stirling Ackroyd Lettings over the last few years is now starting to show and we are seeing more and more Landlords choosing us as their agent of choice. This is not a coincidence, it is down to our continued investment in our teams, technology, service, and process improvements. Our culture and our values are driving us forward and we are working hard to ensure your property is looked after as we head into Spring and Summer. I can confidently tell you already that the Lettings market will remain strong for the next few months, whether renewing or re-letting, our teams will deliver for you. Beyond that, I have learnt not to predict the future.

Thank you as always for being a valued client.

Legislative Changes Ahead

2023 is set to be another busy year for lettings legislation, as the government’s rental reform agenda builds momentum. Agents and landlords need to plan carefully to juggle the various
new requirements, while still leaving space to adapt to any further announcements throughout the year.

New recommendations shared with the government around renters’ reform

The Renters’ Reform Bill is set to transform the rental sector in England in 2023. A new House of Commons report has shared its recommendations based on the recent white paper call for evidence. The report gives more clarity on how the proposals may change before the bill is introduced and also focuses on giving landlords more security.

The report gives more clarity on how the proposals may change before the bill is introduced and also focuses on giving landlords more security:

  • adding the requirement for tenants to wait at least four months from the tenancy start date before they can give two months’ notice
  • Keeping fixed-term tenancies across the whole student housing sector
  • increasing the notice period that the landlord has to give when gaining possession to sell or occupy the property to four months
  • working with landlords on adapting the court process before abolishing section 21
  • Proposal for a new property portal aims for all property documents to be hosted on one online space, to create more visibility for industry stakeholders. How exactly the portal will work is yet to be determined.  Unique property reference numbers are likely to be deployed to match the relevant documents – such as deposits or electrical safety certificates – with the property and to monitor compliance.

You can read the full list of recommendations here.

Tax Changes for short term rentals

New tax rules, licensing, and a holiday-let register are among the proposals set to come into force in 2023 in England, Scotland, and Wales. This is to alleviate some of the pressures on landlords in the private rented sector – particularly those operating in tourist hotspots across Great Britain.

Housing supply issues in England, Scotland, and Wales have led to an increase in government policies to regulate short-term and holiday lets. This is a change in direction for the government. Short-term lets have arguably been given favourable treatment in light of their economic benefits for the tourist industry and to homeowners making money from spare rooms and second homes.

The government has therefore proposed a number of measures to make accessing the
benefits of renting on a short-term basis more stringent.

  • to benefit from business rate relief instead of paying council tax from April 2023, second home owners in England and Wales will need to prove that they’ve let their properties out for a minimum of 70 days in a year.
  • the property must also be “available” to let out for a minimum of 140 days.
  • this threshold will need to have been met in the 2022-2023 tax year for hosts to benefit from business rate relief.

Mould and damp: Updating guidance for the private rented sector (England)

The government plans to update guidance for landlords in 2023. Mould and damp are referenced in a variety of acts governing how landlords manage the repair and
maintenance of their rental properties.

Private landlords are required to ensure the home is fit for human habitation at the start and during the tenancy, under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, with “freedom from damp” listed as a condition. This act was then amended by the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 which we focussed on in our January edition.

The landlord guidance for the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 places the obligation on landlords to keep the structure and exterior of the property as well as the service installations – such as water supply – in a good state of repair.

If damp and mould issues arise due to maintenance or structural problems in a rental property, the landlord should therefore take action to rectify it.
If a tenant finds an issue with the property that they believe makes it unfit for human habitation, they’ll need to notify the landlord or agent in writing. The landlord would then need to deal with the issue in “a reasonable amount of time”, according to the act’s guidance.  

We will keep you updated when any changes are made to the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018.

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards are likely to changer

More efficient homes are often cheaper to heat and warmer to live in, reducing the likelihood of maintenance issues with frozen pipes or condensation, causing damp and mould. Properties with higher energy efficiency ratings are also becoming increasingly desirable and we recommend making investments earlier will therefore help spread the cost over time and ensure the property remains attractive to tenants.

The existing rules

From 1 April 2020, landlords must not continue letting a domestic property with an EPC rating of F or G.
Where a property does not meet the minimum energy efficiency standard, landlords must make energy efficiency improvements to raise the EPC rate to minimum E before they let the property.
The EPC Report should include a list of recommendations detailing measures to improve the energy efficiency of a property. Improvements can be funded by third-parties, self-funded, or a combination of both.

Investment required

Landlords are not required to spend more than £3,500 of their own funds on energy efficiency improvements to their property.
If a property can’t be improved to EPC E for £3,500 or less, landlords should make all upgrades possible to that price, then register an “all improvements made” exemption.


If a property is currently empty, and the landlord isn’t planning to let it, they don’t need to take any steps to improve its rating until they decide to let it again.
In some circumstances, landlords may be able to claim an exemption – for example, if the building is officially protected – which must be registered on the PRS Exemptions Register.

What is changing?

The government is proposing using a phased introduction of the new standards, which means that they would apply to new tenancies from 1 April 2025 and all tenancies by 1 April 2028.
This would limit disruption to landlords and tenants, allow more time for landlords to plan and save for improvements, and encourage a “whole house” approach to improvements.

Funding for your EPC upgrades

There are various options available, please look on the government website link to find out more:

The Boiler upgrade scheme (England and Wales)
VAT relief on energy saving materials (England and Wales)
A Green Deal loan (England, Scotland and Wales)

Landlords welcome plans to tackle anti – social behaviour

Ministers have committed to give landlords more powers to evict unruly tenants as part of efforts to tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB) in the private rented sector.

The announcement comes as part of a wider package of measures designed to root out ASB across the UK.

Polling by the NRLA has found that 50 per cent of landlords have at some point attempted to repossess a property because of a tenant’s anti-social or criminal behaviour. Of this group 84 per cent had received no help in tackling it from their local authority and 75 per cent had no assistance from the police in dealing with anti-social tenants.

Licensing Update

Newham Council’s Selective Licensing scheme has been approved by the Secretary of State for an unprecedented third 5-year term. The scheme is due to commence on 1st June 2023 and will apply borough-wide, except for the wards of Royal Victoria and Stratford Olympic Park. Landlords in Newham will by now be familiar with licensing, as the previous scheme only just came to an end on 28th Feb 2023.

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea has decided to implement a borough-wide Additional Licensing scheme. The new scheme will apply to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO’s) occupied by three or more people. This will come into force on 1st June 2023.

As always, we will notify affected landlords in due course to take the appropriate action.

For further information please contact the Compliance team

Imran Uddin – Compliance Manager

Lettings Services

The evolution of the Lettings Services Department is the biggest moment in my career at Stirling Ackroyd to date. Formerly known as the Tenancy Department, the Lettings Services Department is home to the Stirling Ackroyd landlords who opt for our rent collection or let only service and chose to manage their rental properties independently.

As a business, it was important for us to reinforce the differentiation between the two services, as well as adding a structure in place to ensure all our landlords continue to benefit from exceptional customer service. The Lettings Services department encompasses both our Byfleet and London Bridge teams, under one line management and each tenancy manager oversees a designated property portfolio. As well as this, sleeker structures have also been implemented.  These changes will provide opportunities to further engage with non-managed customers who may need our assistance managing their property in the future.

Coming into my 10th year in the industry and halfway through my 2nd year at Stirling Ackroyd, I am elated to have been a part of this project and cannot wait to watch the team continue to grow and evolve.

If we do not currently manage your property and you would like further information on how our Lettings services team can help you, please email Natalie David.

Natalie David – Head of Lettings Services

Product Updates

No Deposit Arrangement option for Tenants

We are pleased to launch this April, our No Deposit Arrangement and The Tenant Club membership. A Tenant may find it more convenient to not provide a deposit during a tenancy. If a Tenant meets our eligibility criteria for proceeding with a tenancy without a deposit, and the Landlord agrees, a Tenant may  proceed without a deposit. The Tenant will pay a monthly fee to us if they choose not to provide a deposit and they also can opt to become a member of the Tenant Club, under which they will be entitled to various benefits.

A tenant remains fully liable for any damages or breach of contract but benefits from the Experian Rental Exchange which integrates with the tenant’s credit history. This incentivises the tenant to pay rent to positively affect their history.  

What benefits does a Landlord get for offering The No Deposit Agreement on their property?

They may  attract a higher number of applicants who can enter a Tenancy, sooner than a Tenant who may need to pay a traditional cash deposit.

In this instance of a Tenant not paying a dilapidation claim, they will benefit from Stirling Ackroyd making  a discretionary payment of up to 6 weeks rent rather than the 5 weeks rent amount associated with a traditional cash deposit.

A Landlord will also benefit from a faster end of tenancy resolution in event of a claim against the Tenant.

Landlords also have the option of a free buy to let mortgage review with Coreco and discounted arrangement fees if required.

For further information and FAQs on The Tenant Club product please click here

Rent and Legal Protection (RLP) service

Why should a Landlord take our Rent and Legal Protection (RLP) service?

Do you currently have a mortgage on your rental property? If your tenant is unable to pay their rent, can you afford to pay the mortgage for a period of months? How would this impact on your current living costs?

Eviction times are still at 10 months due to the backlog created by the pandemic, inflation, and rising energy costs and we believe it is more important than ever that landlords consider the benefits RLP protection offers should you not already have this in place.

Here is reminder of the benefits and protection it provides:

  • Rent protection on your monthly rent – if your tenant does not pay their rent, we will make a claim for you on our insurance policy. If the claim is successful, we will pay you any money recovered that is due to you
  • 100% of arrears will be payable until vacant possession
  • No excess when making a claim
  • We will cover any legal fees linked to the non-payment of rent up to the value £100,000
  • The service will also provide legal expense protection for any serious breach of the agreement by the tenant
  • On gaining vacant possession following a case of arrears and the service being activated, we will pay you 75% of the monthly rent whilst we remarket the property for a maximum of 2 months
  • We will manage all cases on your behalf
  • You will be covered for 12 months initially with the option to renew
  • If this service will be effective mid-tenancy, there will be a 60 day no claims period from the date the service goes live
  • Rents up to £2500.00 pcm the monthly cost is £32.00, rents from £2501-£5000.00 pcm the monthly cost is £49.00, all costs are inclusive of VAT

If you would like more information about our Rent and Legal Protection service, please get in touch via email at

Focus on Home Counties and London

Introduction to our Regional Lettings Director, Eugenio Frisoli

Our Regional Director for London and Home Counties, Eugenio Frisoli, talks about why he loves working in property and the varied locations he covers.

I started my career in Estate Agency back in 1999 and quickly discovered a passion for people, property, and the challenge of responding to a fast paced and ever-changing market, anyone will tell you that I remain just as passionate as my first day.

As Stirling Ackroyd’s Regional Director, I oversee a large area covering all of our London and Home Counties Lettings offices.

I have witnessed huge investment throughout London and the Home Counties, vast areas have been developed making way for sleek residential, business, and recreational destinations.  While new build developments are perfect for some, I do enjoy the hidden gems in our city where you may discover your new favourite bar or restaurant hidden in a side street.

The market is currently fast paced with properties being available for a very short period before an offer is negotiated. Our talented and experienced team are managing offers effectively ensuring the best outcome for our landlords.

If you would like to talk about investment or Landlord opportunities across our locations, please email Eugenio Frisoli.

Eugenio Frisoli – Regional Director

Click here for more information on the Stirling Ackroyd Group and the areas we cover.

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