News & Blog

Sean's blog: September 2015

Autumn – time to make sure you comply!

This time of year is one of the two main periods, other than April, that the Government chooses to bring into force many pieces of legislation. This year is no exception and a number of laws that were enacted just before the General Election now kick in, on or around October 1st.  

The private rented sector is heavily reflected in the changes and whilst there has been a lot of information and discussion of the new laws, lots of agents have yet to take the necessary steps in order to stay on the right side of the law.

This is the time therefore to cracking and come up to speed with your compliance. The imminent changes are as follows:

 

  1. The big buzz word “Section 21 evictions” has caused a lot of discussion this year.  Major changes to the rules to stamp out retaliatory evictions are being used to avoid the landlord’s obligation to repair.  Despite some sections of the industry saying that there are flaws in the regulations and mounting a last minute attempt to delay them, as of 1st of October you will need to fundamentally change the way you issue Section 21s. You should also note that the new law now makes it impossible to serve a Section 21 without a valid Energy Performance Certificate or if you have not issued your tenants an up-to-date version of the Government’s leaflet “How to Rent”:  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent. You can read more about Section 21s here 

  2. After a few last minute hitches, October also sees the mandatory condition to install smoke alarms in all rented properties. It also makes carbon monoxide detectors compulsory in certain types of properties and where certain types of fuel systems are used.

  3. One piece of legislation that was expected to go live in October is the Right to Rent immigration checks. These have been piloted in the West Midlands and were thought to be rolled out to the rest of the UK this autumn. An exact date has not been mooted but the likelihood is that when it is rolled out, it will be done quickly and if you are not ready, you will be caught out.

​As you probably have realised by now, the new regulations will mean you will need to change your practices, revamp your documentation and refine your communications. Now is the time to get your ducks lined up and ensure that you are fully fit for business.

For a quick check on where you stand please see our checklist below.

 

  • I clearly display that I am a member of a redress scheme such as the Property Redress Scheme.

  • I clearly display whether or not I have Client Money Protection

  • I clearly display my fees including VAT for both my landlords and tenants and provide a detailed breakdown of the charges.

  • I have issued a valid Energy Performance Certificate in advance of letting the property

  • I have provided my tenant with the latest copy of the “How to Rent” guide: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent

  • I have provided my tenant with the relevant prescribed information in relation to tenancy deposit protection.

  • I have ensured the properties I let or manage have a working smoke alarm and CO detector if relevant.

  • I ensure that I check all my tenants’ documents for their right to reside in the UK.

 

For more information about us and advice on industry best practice, please go to the Resources section of our website.

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