Landlords renting out residential properties are facing challenges as a result of new legislation being introduced on a number of fronts. Here are a few of the changes coming your way.
Minimum energy efficiency standards:
When a residential property is advertised for rent you must obtain an Energy Performance Certificate which gives the property an energy efficiency rating from A to G. Under new Minimum Energy Efficiency Regulations, if the energy rating falls below E, landlords will not be able to grant a new residential tenancy or renew an existing residential tenancy after 1 April 2018, or continue to let a residential property after 1 April 2020 unless an exemption can be claimed. Landlords should be making any appropriate improvements to their properties as soon as possible, and from 1 April 2016, cannot be unreasonable in refusing a tenant request to make energy efficient improvements themselves.
From 1 October 2015, new notice procedures apply when you want to terminate some assured shorthold tenancies, with the changes eventually applying to the termination of all such tenancies in 2018. Where the new rules apply, a special form of notice will need to be used and a landlord will not be able to serve the notice unless the tenant has been provided with a gas safety certificate, an Energy Performance Certificate, prescribed information on any tenancy deposit and a copy of the Government’s How to Rent Guide. More importantly there are now legal requirements in relation to the condition of a property that could prevent a landlord serving a notice to terminate on a property in disrepair. Landlords need to ensure that they respond to complaints about state of repair promptly, and tenants must make their landlords aware.
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms:
Also from 1 October 2015, Landlords are required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties, and to test them at the start of every tenancy. Those who fail to do so could face up to a £5,000 civil penalty. England’s fire and rescue authorities are expected to support private landlords in their own areas to meet their new responsibilities, with grant funding from the Government.
Right to rent checks:
If all that was not enough, from the 1 February 2016 landlords face penalties of up to £3,000 under the Immigration Act 2014 if they fail to carry out “right to rent” checks ensuring that residential tenants are legally entitled to be in the country and rent a property; this is part of a crackdown on unscrupulous landlords who exploit immigrants. Landlords do not have to check the right to rent of an existing occupier whose tenancy was granted before 1 February or any tenancy in place before that date which is subsequently renewed between the same parties and at the same property without a break.