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Landlords, are you ready? Further legislation changes from 1st October 2015

It has been a year of change! With the recent legionnaire’s rewording, right to rent in the England and a lot of speculation surrounding section 21 notices and of course smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. This is not a time I would want to look after a rental property without knowing what I was doing… there are large fines, sanctions and other penalties that could cost you £000’s. Along with still not being able to remove a bad tenant because of a technicality or omission.

So below I have summarised some of the more important legislation changes that will come in effect very shortly for all landlords across England.

Section 21 – Retaliatory eviction

  • A landlord is no longer entitled to serve a section 21 notice to a tenant in retaliation to a complaint regarding the condition of the property.
  • The landlord must, instead provide an adequate response within 14 days of the complaint, setting out timescale and action points to deal with the issues.
  • The repairs need to be reported prior to the service of the section 21 to make the notice invalid.

Section 21 – Energy Performance Certificate and Government Booklet ‘How to Rent’.

  • For tenancies created after the 1st October 2015, the tenant must have been given a valid copy of the property’s EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) to be able to successfully serve a section 21 upon them.
  • The tenant must also be given, where appropriate, a copy of the gas safety certificate.
  • The tenant must also be given a copy of the Government booklet ‘How to rent: a checklist for renting in England.
  • Along with the usual prescribed information and proof protection of the deposit.
  • The landlord must be able to evidence all these document were given to the tenant.
  • Only once all of these are given and evidenced can a landlord serve a valid section 21 notice.

Section 21 – New prescribed form

  • It will be mandatory for the landlord to sue the new prescribed form of the section 21 notice, use of the old notice format will invalidate the notice.
  • The new form will be similar to the old form but with further guidance added.

Section 21 – Timing restrictions

  • For all tenancies created after 1st October it will not be possible for a landlord to serve a valid section 21 notice during the first 4 months of the tenancy.
  • A section 21 notice will expire after 6 months and proceeding cannot be started after this date.
  • Within a statutory periodic holdover tenancy the requirement to serve a notice to end at the end of a period is no longer in place, therefore a 2 month section 21 notice can be served to end on any date.

Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Regulations

  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 has now been passed and will take effect from 1st October 2015. Full details can be found at https://www.gov.uk/
  • There is a requirement to have a smoke alarm fitted on every storey of rental accommodation where there is a room that is used partly or wholly as living accommodation.
  • A room is classed as ‘living accommodation’ if it is used for the primary purposes of living, or is a room in which a person spends a significant amount of time. Specifically a bathroom or lavatory would be classed as living accommodation.
  • There is also a requirement to fit carbon monoxide alarms in rooms that include any appliances where solid fuel is burnt, such as wood, coal or biomass. It does not include appliances that burn gas, oil or LPG.
  • However GasSafe, and other, guidance suggest a carbon monoxide alarm should be installed in areas where gas, oil or LPG fuel is used.
  • There is no grace period for the above legislation change from 1st October, and any landlord found not to be compliant could face up to £5000 fine.
  • These regulations cover existing tenancies as well as new tenancies created after 1st October 2015.

As you can see this is a minefield for landlords in England and if you are not up to speed with the current legislation then I would suggest you give us a call to discuss. There is never a better time to allow a managing agent, such as Gordon barker Residential Lettings, to take over the management of your property, rents are at a high and demand is fierce for good rental property. Management can be taken over with the current tenant remaining in situ too.

You need to be covered, protected and prepared in the current rental market. Call now on 01202292400 for a meeting or a chat to discuss your requirements. You can also email aaron@gordonbarker.com.