Four housing rule changes to watch out for this year from evictions shake-up to crackdown on landlords

WHETHER you're buying a home or renting, you'll want to know about four important rule changes to watch out for in 2022.

From a potential evictions shake-up to a crackdown on unlicensed landlords, families could see big changes to housing rules this year.

It comes as budding buyers have been battling it out across the country to bag a home as demand soars – and prices, too, as a result.

The average UK house price has rocketed by 10.2% over the past year to a whopping £285,000 in England, according to the Office for National Statistics.

It means that many would-be buyers have been priced out of the market – and renters are feeling the heat too.

The average monthly rent rate for families has jumped to £1,060, up from £972 a year ago – and experts predict that this will only go up further as the year goes on.

But several rule changes could give households better protection when it comes to buying or renting a home.

We explain all you need to know.

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Evictions rights shake-up

The government is expected to release a Renters' Reform Bill White Paper this year, which could come as early as spring.

The change could impact the roughly 11million Brits that rent privately in the UK.

White Papers are policy documents that set out what the Government intends to make into law, and open up the plans to scrutiny from other MPs.

It doesn't necessarily mean it will be made into law this year as there are multiple stages of debate it will have to go through first.

But it does mean we're one step closer to rolling out more rights for renters.

Experts are expecting – and calling for – the government to scrap a rule where landlords can evict their tenants even if they've done nothing wrong.

It's called the Section 21 "no-fault evictions" rule – and it means your landlord doesn't need a reason to turf you out of their house.

The government held a consultation on permanently banning Section 21 back in 2019, and promised in the Queen's Speech last year that it would release the White Paper soon.

It is expected that any changes will be announced in this year's Queen's Speech too.

This is the speech made when the state officially opens parliament – last year it took place on May 11.

Generation Rent deputy director Dan Wilson said renters should have "more confidence that their home is theirs for the long-term", and feel like they can raise complaints if something goes wrong without the fear of being kicked out of their home.

"Right now landlords don’t need a reason to evict a tenant, which means tenants who have done everything they agreed to can still face the upheaval, stress and costs of an unwanted move," he said.

"Even complaining to your landlord is risky if they can just turn around and give you an eviction notice – though in some cases the council can protect tenants."

Crackdown on unlicensed landlords

There's another potential shake-up for renters from the Renters Reform Bill White Paper.

This would affect the way in which councils keep track of unlicensed landlords.

Many councils have schemes in place where landlords need to register to rent their home.

This is so the council can keep track of who rents what and where – but some local authorities don't have a scheme in place.

This means if you complain to your local council about your landlord when something goes wrong, it's much harder for it to help you challenge the dispute.

Experts are calling for the government to put together a national database to ensure that all landlords are registered.

Shelter chief executive Polly Neate said: "We need a national landlord register to make it easier for councils to crack down on bad landlords."

Compensation for new build homes

A new watchdog will be up and running this year that could help award payouts of up to £50,000 for homeowners who have a fault with their new-build home.

Last year, it was announced that a New Homes Quality Board (NHBQ) would be set up laying out a code of practice that developers and builders must abide by.

Should builders fail to follow these rules, homeowners can report them to a new body –  the New Homes Ombusdman Service (NHOS) – which will investigate claims and award compensation if necessary.

The NHBQ told The Sun that a final version of the code is being put into place, and that consumers will be covered by the service from April.

HomeOwners Alliance chief executive Paula Higgins said that there could be shortcomings with the new scheme though.

"Note that this will not be retrospective so no joy for those who have issues with their current newly built home," she said.

It means that you'll only be able to use the service from the date a developer registers with the board and signs up to the new arrangements,

Builders will be able to start registering for the service by the end of the month, the NHBQ said – and all builders will be expected to register up by the end of the year.

Protection against cladding bills

Cladding on flats and tower blocks became a major issue after the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.

It led to thousands of buildings being identified with unsafe cladding – dubbed a  "silent killer" because of the fire risk it poses.

Leaseholders who have discovered their homes are built with dangerous materials have been left unable to sell their homes, and many are facing huge bills to cover the cost of stripping it off the walls.

One flat-owner was given a £100,000 bill to help fund the cost of replacing dangerous cladding on her home – she had bought the property in Leeds for £180,000.

But Housing Secretary Michael Gove announced last week that leaseholders in buildings between 11m (36ft) and 18m (59ft) tall will no longer have to take out loans to cover remediation work.

It saves many people from forking out tens of thousands of pounds to fix the issue.

Instead, developers will be expected to fund and carry out the works necessary to fix unsafe cladding.

Developers have a deadline of early March to outline a fully funded plan of action to remove cladding on properties they have built.

If you're concerned about the safety or your building and the owner is not taking steps to sort the problems, you can contact your local authority, the Fire and Rescue Service, and the Department of Housing Communities and Local Government for advice.

You can find your local council using the government website.

You could get up to £8,000 in free cash just by moving house – here's how.

Here's five ways to get help with your rent as the average bill soars to £1,060.

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