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Key Changes in Lettings Legislation Since 2015

The legislation and regulations that surround the lettings industry are constantly changing.

As we enter a new decade, we just want to give a quick recap on the key changes in legislation since 2015.

Tenant Fee Ban (June 2019)

A large change that we’ve seen in the past year is the Tenant Fee Ban, this is arguably the largest change seen in the industry in the last decade and has changed the way in which agents operate.

Initially the ban was only relevant to renewals or new tenancies, but from June 2020 it will also affect current tenancies, meaning any fee clauses in contracts will become inadmissible. Examples of banned fees are as follows:

·         Referencing.

·         Writing up of Tenancy Agreements.

·         Move Ins.

·         Check Outs.

·         Inventories.

·         Charging for a Guarantor Application.

Not all charges have become exempt, with holding deposits, deposits, and defaulting of the contract still legal to charge for. There are, however, still restrictions, E.G. holding deposits can’t be more than one week’s rent and a deposit can’t exceed 5 week’s rent (unless the annual rent exceeds £50,000). 

Mandatory Client Money Protection (April 2019)

As of April 2019, all agents are required to be part of a mandatory Client Money Protection scheme, not only that but the scheme must be one that has been Government approved.

Energy Efficiency Rating (April 2018)

As of April 2018, the law requires that all rental properties have a minimum energy efficiency rating of E, this applied immediately to new tenancies or tenancies that were being renewed from April 2018.

HMO Room Size Regulations (2018)

As of 2018, the sizes of bedrooms in HMO’s have been regulated and require that the license holder ensures the sizing of bedrooms is as follows:

·         One person aged 10 or over – no less than 6.51 square metres.

·         Two people aged 10 or over – no less than 10.22 square metres.

·         One person under the age of 10 – no less than 4.64 square metres.

If any room in the property doesn’t match these requirements, then it must not be used as sleeping accommodation. Failing to comply with the regulations can result in an unlimited fine if found guilty in a magistrates’ court. Alternatively, local authorities can also issue a penalty of up to £30,000.

Rent Repayment Orders (April 2017)

An extension to the rent repayment orders in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 came into force in April 2017, this change means that the act now covers illegal convictions, breach of a banning order and other such offences that can be committed by the landlord/agent (e.g. harassment).

Right to Rent Scheme (February 2016)

Under this act, all landlords/agents must ensure that the prospective tenants who are going to move in to the property have the right to be in the UK – this includes sub-letters and lodgers. This meant that as of February 2016, identity documents must be checked and copied in order to qualify a tenant’s right to rent in the country. Any landlord/agent found to be in breach of this check can be fined a penalty of up to £3000 per tenant.

How Can We Help?

Are you a private landlord struggling to keep up with the constant legislation changes in the industry? Call us today on 01904 231022 for a quick, no obligation discussion on how we can take some of the pressure off your hands. Even if it's just for some advice on something you're unsure of, we're always happy to help!

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