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 case scenario, 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 like half!
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.
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
From 1st 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.
From April 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 years.