Landlords beware! … changes to the law requiring attention.
If you are a landlord in England, you need to be aware of recent changes to the law brought about by the Deregulation Act 2015 (the Act). The Act makes changes to the following areas:
- Section 21 Notice
- Tenancy Deposit Protection
- Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) / Gas safety certificate
- Prescribed Information
- Retaliatory Eviction
Section 21 Notices
Before the Act there was a choice as to the form of notice that could be used to notify a tenant of the landlord’s intention to evict. After the 1 October 2018 the Act makes it clear that the prescribed Form 6A must be used. There are also changes made to the notice period and expiry dates that need to be carefully considered to ensure the correct procedure is followed.
Tenancy Deposit Protection
Deposits taken on or after 7 April 2007 must now be in an approved tenancy deposit scheme. A failure to do this can lead to claims being initiated by tenants for damages and the Court can award your tenant up to three times the value of the deposit.
Energy Performance / Gas safety Certificate
The Act states that an EPC must be provided to a tenant (free of charge) prior to the commencement of the tenancy. Similarly if the property contains any gas appliances then a gas safety certificate should be obtained and given to the tenant (prior to commencement of the tenancy). Every year thereafter, a new certificate should be obtained and passed on to the tenant. Failing to do so, may prevent a landlord from seeking possession of its property at a later date using the section 21 procedure.
All landlords must provide tenants with a copy of the current version of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s booklet entitled ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England‘. Failure to do so may prevent you from seeking possession using the section 21 procedure.
The Act also introduced provisions to protect tenants against retaliatory evictions. A retaliatory eviction is essentially described as a situation where a landlord serves a notice seeking possession in response to a tenant raising a legitimate complaint as to the condition of the property.
Landlords now have 14 days in which to respond to a tenant’s complaint regarding the condition of the property. If the landlord fails to respond and a local authority improvement notice is served upon the landlord, the landlord will be prevented from serving a section 21 notice for 6 months!
Does a landlord have to comply with the Act requirements even if the tenancy was granted prior to the date of the Act (1 October 2015)?
The short answer is yes. There are exceptions to this rule, however, for the vast majority of cases; a landlord will be required to comply with the above requirements before serving a tenant with a section 21 notice.
This blog just highlights the headline changes, all landlords need to ensure they are fully aware of the details of the Act as there are almost certain to be elements that will impact them and their obligations to their tenants. The need for careful review is all the more important given the retrospective nature of some parts of the Act.
If you are a landlord, tenant or agent and require any advice on the issues discussed in this article, then please contact Amit Bansal in our Property Litigation team on 020 7288 4737 or email at Amitbansal@boltburdon.co.uk
You can also contact one of our other solicitors in the Property Litigation team here.