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Regulation updates for landlords

David Allen

There are a number of changes affecting regulations and legislation for residential landlords and agents which have taken effect from 1 October 2015 – don’t get caught out.

The first of these changes will affect all new Assured Shorthold Tenancies in England from 1st October.  These changes will mean more regulations for landlords when terminating a tenancy.

What is changing?

There are amendments to the Housing Act 1988 referring to the procedure for recovering possession of premises on a ‘no fault’ basis under Section 21.

The amendments will include:

  • A new form of Section 21 Notice.
  • New timescales when serving Section 21 Notices and issuing possession proceedings.
  • New restrictions on serving a Section 21 Notice where the landlord is engaging in the practice of retaliatory eviction.
  • Restrictions on serving a Section 21 Notice where the landlord has failed to provide the tenant with certain prescribed information and documentation.

Validity of Section 21 Notices

There are currently two factors that can invalidate a Section 21 Notice:

  1. Failure to protect the tenant’s deposit in an approved tenancy deposit protection scheme.
  2. Failure to comply with HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) licensing requirements.

As of 1 October there are a number of new restrictions in force meaning landlords will be unable to serve a valid Section 21 Notice if:

The tenant has made a valid complaint about the condition of the property and instead of addressing the complaint the Landlord serves a Section 21 Notice – this is also known as a retaliatory eviction.

Or if:

The landlord has failed to provide the tenant with any of the following:

  • a valid energy performance certificate (EPC)
  • a current gas safety certificate (CP12)
  • a copy of the publication ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England’ published by the Department for Communities and Local Government

Timing issues

Previously, some landlords and agents preferred to issue a Section 21 Notice at the start of the tenancy.  When reviewed this was deemed to be unfair to tenants meaning that as of 1 October it is not be possible to serve a Section 21 Notice within the first four months of a tenancy.

Further to this, a new deadline for starting possession proceedings if the tenant does not vacate of his/her own accord has been confirmed.  The new deadline states that proceedings must be started within six months of the date of service of the Section 21 Notice.  If the serving takes longer than the prescribed six months then a new Section 21 Notice must be served.

Are there any other changes?

Landlords and agents need to be aware of the new Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 which became mandatory on 1 October.

Carbon Monoxide incidents are more common in rented properties than in privately owned homes and these new regulations are part of a wider effort to improve fire safety in the UK.

These new regulations require a smoke alarm to be installed on each storey of a premises in which there is a room being used as living accommodation and a carbon monoxide alarm to be present if this accommodation contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance.  On the first day of a new tenancy the landlord, or their agent, must check that each alarm is in proper working order.

Many properties, particularly those built in recent years, will already be equipped with alarms that comply with the regulations but as local housing authorities have enforcement powers you must ensure that you comply and that any problems that arise are remedied.

At David Allen Recovery Solutions we are here to support landlords so contact our experts today to see how we can help you.

Posted: October 1st, 2015

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