Legislation within the lettings sector is changing at a rate never seen before. It can be complex and represent high risks for landlords that don’t comply with the law. Currently, there are over 150 pieces of legislation that affect the rental Industry and Sowerbys will always recommend using our management service if not experienced.
De-Regulation Act 2015
Failure to comply with this new act can have dramatic effects on your ability to remove a tenant and regain possession. Changes introduced as a result of this Act include specific time limits to serve Section 21 notices, prescribed information in respect of deposit registration, and the prohibition of ‘retaliatory eviction’ which prevent landlords simply serving notice rather than fix maintenance issues.
New EPC Regulations (MEES)
As from the 1st April 2018 there will be a requirement for any properties rented out in the private rented sector to normally have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
Fire and furnishings regulations
All furniture provided in rented accommodation must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1998. The regulations apply to any of the following example items:
Beds, mattresses and headboards.
Sofa beds, futons and armchairs.
Cushions, seat covers and pillows.
Legionella bacteria in Water Systems Approved Code of Practice (“ACOP L8”), now applies to domestic living and dwellings. We offer a risk assessment combined with the Inventory for a small additional fee.
Right To Rent
Landlords must ensure tenants can legally reside in the UK before letting to them. The penalty for renting to someone without the right to rent is a £3,000 fine or even imprisonment.
How To Rent Guide
This guide was introduced in October 2015, with a new version to be used from January 2018. Landlords have a statutory requirement to provide this to all new tenants and it must be issued prior to the commencement of the tenancy.
Failure to comply could render a landlord unable to request possession of their property under the Section 21 notice.
Tenancy Deposit Legislation
In April 2007, it became law (Housing Act 2004) that all deposits collected by landlords or agents need to be registered in either a custodial scheme or an insurance-based scheme. The legislation was further clarified in March 2015.
If a Landlord fails to comply with the deposit legislation the courts can inforce fines up to three times the deposit value, while further penalties may include being unable to serve a Section 21 notice.
Smoke Alarm Regulation
All landlords are required to fit smoke alarms on every floor of living accommodation and test on the first day of tenancy. Carbon monoxide alarms are also required for any solid fuel burning device to include wood burners and fires.
Fit for human habitation act
Underpinned by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, tenants now have the right to pursue private legal proceedings if the property they rent isn’t fit for purpose under new measures.
Changes to mandatory HMO licensing
If you own an HMO that falls within certain criteria you may need a license to let from the council. Minimum sizes for bedrooms have also been introduced.
We understand the above can be daunting, so if you would like any further information please contact your local Sowerbys branch who will be more than happy to offer advice. At Sowerbys we believe the value of a professional and industry established letting agent should never be ignored. Our fully managed option makes sure you and your tenants operate in a fully compliant and safe manner. It also allows us to take care of an evolving market using brand new tenancy agreements, the latest technology and service offerings. This is all geared to make sure that whilst being compliant, the fundamental return on your investment is maximised with accurate and qualified advice.