The Government has announced proposals for
all UK landlords to join a redress scheme. Landlords who fail to join this
scheme will face fines of up to £5,000.
James Brokenshire, the current Housing
Minister, wishes to create a new housing complaints resolution service, where
disputes between landlords and tenants can be resolved. This would be on the
understanding that all other avenues have been exhausted.
This proposal is running parallel with the
recent Homes(Fitness for Human Habitation)Act 2018, which has now given tenants
new powers to sue landlords should their accommodation not meet basic health
and hygiene standards.
The idea of the scheme is for tenants and
landlords to resolve a dispute that has arisen as a result of a defect, or
issue in their property, which would render it unsafe, uninhabitable, or
At this stage, the redress scheme
legislation is still a proposal, but it is expected to become law in the
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 allows Tenants to sue landlords over the condition of their property
What is the new law?
20 March 2019, a new law came into force to make sure that rented
houses and flats are ‘fit for human habitation’, which means that they
are safe, healthy and free from things that could cause serious harm.
landlords ensure that their rented properties are safe and secure, warm
and dry, but some landlords do not, and as a result, some tenants are
forced to live in dangerous or unhealthy conditions.
new law was designed to fully protect tenants and will enable them to
start speaking up; the potential downside is it could force many
landlords to sell, or even deter potential property investors from
What does this new law mean for a landlord?
If rented houses and flats are not ‘fit for human habitation’, tenants can take their landlords to court. The court can force the landlord to carry out repairs or rectify health and safety issues. The court can also force the landlord to pay compensation to the tenant.
As a landlord, it is crucial that you keep your properties in top condition and respond quickly to any issues reported by your tenants
When it comes to a tenant’s safety,
you cannot afford to cut corners and for two obvious reasons. Firstly,
your negligence could potentially result in a serious accident, or worst
a fatality. Secondly, you could end up in prison with a hefty fine. One
would assume this to be a motivation for landlords to ensure their
properties are safe to inhabit(live in),
but it is estimated that a third of
rented homes in the UK (in some shape or form) are unsafe to live in.
And that’s just the ones we know about! The reality is probably more
A round up of recent legislative changes affecting the rental sector:
How to Rent Guide
The How to
Rent Guide was updated on the 26th June 2018 and it is important
that landlords and letting agencies who have let properties or renewed leases since
this date, ensure that they have issued the correct version. Failure to do so
could mean that landlords are unable to evict tenants using a section 21
notice. This new How to Rent Guide has a different subtitle. It is now known as: ‘How to rent: the
checklist for renting in England’.
It was updated to reflect the tenants fee ban and the upcoming changes to HMO
Licensing for HMOs
From 1st October 2018 there were significant changes to the licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO’s) for landlords. The change means that any HMO occupied by 5 or more individuals (not all related to one another) will require an HMO licence
There are also minimum room sizes for any rooms being used as a bedroom. The minimum room sizes are:
4.64㎡ for any room in which one
child under the age of 10 sleeps
6.51㎡ for any room in which one
person over the age of 10 sleeps
10.22㎡ for any room in which two
people over the age of 10 sleep
If any room
is smaller than 4.64㎡, it cannot be used as a bedroom and the landlord must
inform the local authority
New Eviction Rules
October 2018, the Deregulation Act 2015 changed the way that a Section 21
notice can be used to end a tenancy, but it was limited to tenancies agreed on
or after 1 Oct 2015, However from
October 2018, this was extended to ALL tenancies. This means that:
A Section 21 notice cannot be issued during the first four months of a tenancy (although this doesn’t apply to renewals)
The notice is only valid for six months from the date on which it was issued. If you don’t follow up with proceedings within six months, you will have to re-issue the Section 21 notice
If a tenant makes a legitimate complaint about your property and they aren’t dealt with, the tenant can contact the Local Authority with their issue. If the Local Authority then issue a notice of improvement, then you will need to complete the improvement works before you’re allowed to issue a Section 21 notice, otherwise it is not valid.
2018, all properties with new tenancies and renewals will have to have at least
an ‘E’ rating on their Energy Performance Certificate. Landlords who don’t meet this requirement
could receive a fine of up to £5,000.
This requirement will be rolled out to all tenancies in the next two