It has been a very busy few months for the Lettings industry and we wanted to take this opportuni...
It has been a very busy few months for the Lettings industry and we wanted to take this opportunity to summarise all that’s been going on.
All of our managed Landlords will already be well aware of the work that we have undertaken to ensure that their properties meet the latest fire & CO safety regulations which came in to place on the 1st of October.
However there has also been significant changes to the legalities surrounding the service of notices and the documentation that is also now required at the point of applying, should a tenant wish to rent a property from the 1st October. These additions have gained far less press & publicity but have significant implications to a landlords attempts to evict a tenant if they choose to go it alone...
Below is a brief Summary of Legislative Changes 1 October 2015 as supplied by NALS – the National Approved Lettings Scheme
On 1 October 2015 a number of provisions in the Deregulation Act 2015 will come into force. These provisions are designed to protect tenants against unfair eviction. From 1 October, where a tenant makes a genuine complaint about the condition of their property that has not been addressed by their landlord, their complaint has been verified by a local authority inspection, and the local authority has served either an improvement notice or a notice of emergency remedial action, a landlord cannot evict that tenant for 6 months. The landlord is also required to ensure that the repairs are completed.
Other changes to evictions
The Deregulation Act 2015 also makes it more straightforward for landlords to evict a tenant where they are allowed to do so. Landlords can face unnecessary costs when going to court to seek possession of their property, where the case is thrown out of court on a technical error in the notice (for example, specifying an incorrect date). We have introduced a new form that landlords must use when they are relying on a ‘no fault’ eviction (a section 21 eviction) which will help to reduce this, and to save time and inconvenience for landlords, helping them to get their property back as soon as possible. This form must be used for tenancies entered into on or after 1 October, and we encourage its use for tenancies entered into before that date as well in order to reduce the capacity for error.
There are some additional new rules, particularly around the information which must be provided to tenants before landlords can serve the new section 21 form. Guidance on the detail of all of these changes can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/retaliatory-eviction-and-the-deregulation-act-2015-guidance-note
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 have been approved by Parliament and come into force on 1 October 2015. These will require private sector landlords to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties, and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove etc). After that, the landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.
The regulations aim to reduce the risk of injury or death to tenants caused by fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. An explanatory booklet for local authorities, giving further details and helping to prepare for enforcement, is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/smoke-and-carbon-monoxide-alarms-explanatory-booklet-for-local-authorities.
The ‘How to Rent’ guide is a short, user-friendly booklet that details the key rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants. The Model Tenancy Agreement has been produced for the benefit of landlords and tenants and includes clauses that encourage longer, more family friendly tenancies.
We believe that these measures present a strong package that will help to increase standards in the private rented sector and help tenants to feel safer and more secure in their homes, and strike an appropriate balance that will benefit landlords and tenants.
For any landlords that are currently managing their own properties or who have not been made aware of these latest changes by their agents – This is already in place and we urge you to contact us to guide you through what is necessary for your individual property and to ensure that you are covered.
1 October 2015