Here are the top five pieces of NEW letting legislation you need to be aware of for 2015.
Thursday, October 22, 2015
As a full time lettings agent I spend a lot of time keeping track of new and proposed regulations. One thing I notice is that there is a lot of chatter in the press about things that might come into force if they are approved or things that are just being discussed by politicians.
This can be confusing for landlords, many of whom just want to know what affects them now.
So I have put together my top five new things that landlords need to be aware of in 2015. Why wait until the New Year? Right now is a good time to get up to date with what’s happened in 2015.
1. SMOKE ALARMS
Surely you have heard about this one? From 1 October 2015 all landlords in England will be required to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property. These must be tested at the start of every tenancy.
Landlords also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms – such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed.
2. CAN I SERVE A SECTION 21 NOTICE?
To serve a section 21 notice after October 1 2015 a landlord must first provide the tenant with the ‘prescribed information’. This should be done at the start of the tenancy and includes the EPC, Gas Safety Certificate and DCLG pamphlet ‘How to Rent’.
Your right to serve a section 21 notice can also be withheld for six months if you are served an improvement notice or a notice of emergency remedial action by your local authority. This can happen if a tenant makes a genuine complaint about the condition of their property which has not been addressed and is intended to prevent ‘retaliatory eviction.
For a full list of requirements to serve a Section 21 Notice, click here.
3. GETTING EFFICIENT
Ok it’s not 2015 but – From 1st January 2016 tenants will be able to demand energy efficiency measures and landlords will not be able to reasonably refuse. From 2018 it will be illegal to let property with an energy efficiency rating of F and G.
4. PRE 2007 DEPOSITS CLARIFIED
Deposits held since before the tenancy deposit scheme came into force (April 2007) must now be protected too. (This is only if the tenancy became a statutory periodic tenancy after April 2007.) If it was already an SPT before the scheme came in there is no requirement to register the deposit but not doing so affects your ability to serve a Section 21 notice should you need to.
5. NEW WORDING FOR SECTION 8 and 13 NOTICES
On Monday 6 April 2015 new legislation came in to change the wording of Section 8 and Section 13 notices. If you serve or have served one of these notices after that date you must use the new wording.
I hope this helps you get your head round your responsibilities as a landlord. As a full service lettings agent we help our landlords to comply with all new legislation from delivery of smoke alarms to serving notices on tenants in the correct way.