While most legislative changes in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) are more relevant to landlords, this year several new batches of rules and regulations are also key for tenants, too.
Let's look at the main changes to renting in 2020 that tenants need to be aware of...
1. The Renters' Reform BillThis is one major piece of proposed legislation that renters certainly need to know about.
While there is no date in place for when the Renters' Reform Bill will become law, we do know it will only apply to lettings in England.
We also know what the main aspects of the Bill are:
* The abolishment of section 21 'no fault' evictions, meaning landlords must have a valid reason for requesting that tenants leave, even at the end of their fixed term tenancy
* Boosting landlords' rights to remove tenants when they have good reason to do so
* Proposed lifetime deposits, where a tenant's deposit travels with them when they move rental properties
2. Credit scoringIf you've ever taken out any kind of credit, for instance a credit card or a mobile phone or car leasing contract, you should know you have been credit scored.
Credit scoring is used by lenders to determine how likely you are to pay your bills on time.
And doing so boosts your credit score.
However, while homeowners who pay their mortgages on time benefit from a boosted credit score, tenants who pay their rent on time do not.
That, though, is about to change with major credit referencing agency Experian confirming they will now reward tenants who pay on time with better credit scoring.
3. Renting with a petOne of the biggest complaints many renters have is the lack of available rental properties that accept pets.
Currently, landlords are under no obligation to accept pets in their rental properties and while they isn't set to change, the government is hoping some gentle persuasion may entice some to change their minds.
The government's template tenancy agreement is being re-worded to remove restrictions on tenants having a well-behaved pet.
While landlords can still refuse pets they feel could cause damage to their properties, the government's hope is that more will consider allowing their tenants to keep animals.
4. Energy efficiencyAll rental properties, from April 2020, must carry an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) minimum rating of at least 'E'.
Those that don't will not be able to be let and if you're a tenant currently in a property where the EPC rating is F or G, your landlord is legally obliged to undertake work to improve it.
5. Electrical installation checksIf you're renting a room in a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), you should already be aware that your landlord is obliged to undertake mandatory electrical checks every five years.
Currently, those rules don't apply to standard residential tenancies, but that could be about to change.