Home Front logoThis week I want to alert Private Landlords of the imminent legal changes about to be implemented into the lettings industry. Firstly, there are some notable changes with respect to Section 21:

Anti-retaliatory eviction measures. These will restrict landlords’ ability to serve a valid section 21 notice if the tenants have complained about the condition of the property AND if the Local Authority have served an improvement or similar notice on the landlord. This measure should not affect landlords who respond promptly to tenants and who keep properties in good condition.

New Section 21 notice. This is Positive news for landlords as most of the historical problems with s21 evictions have been centred around the correct drafting of the notice.

Extra preconditions for serving a s21 notice. Currently these are compliant with the tenancy deposit rules and having a licence for a licensable HMO. Here are the new ones:

  • Installing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Serving on the tenant a gas safety certificate,
  • An energy performance certificate, and
  • A copy of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s ‘How to Rent’ guide

Time limits – you will not be able to serve a s21 notice during the first four months of a tenancy and will not be able to issue proceedings based on a notice more than six months after it was served. The new s21 measures are due to come into force on October 1, but the pre-conditions and time limits will only (until 2018) apply to new tenancies created after that date.

Right to Rent

The right to rent checks which came in with the Immigration Act 2014 have been trialled in the West Midlands. These are almost certainly going to be rolled out nationwide as fast as the Government can manage it. New measures are also being planned for a new immigration act which will involve harsher penalties for landlords who fail to carry out the checks, including imprisonment, and also the power to evict tenants without getting a court order first.

HMO Licensing

The Government has indicated that it is going to revisit mandatory licensing and widen the definition so more properties will come within it.

Penalties for Rogue Landlords

The Government has indicated that it is determined to crack down on rogue landlords by introducing new penalties.

To keep up to date and for more information on Landlords responsibilities go to www.gov.uk