The 1st of October brings important changes for landlords and agents to be aware of. We have outlined the basics below to keep you up to date with the new requirements. If this raises further questions for you, please get in touch with Michelle Hayter, who will be happy to assist in answering your questions
Section 21 Notices
- For all tenancies beginning on or after 1 October 2015, landlords will not be able to serve a section 21 notice within the first four months of the tenancy. From 1 October 2018 this will affect all tenancies.
- The use of a new prescribed form of section 21 notice will be mandatory. If landlords fail to use the correct form, it will invalidate their notice. The new prescribed form will be similar to the old section 21 notices, but there will be significant guidance added.
- For a periodic assured shorthold tenancy, you will no longer need to serve a notice which expires on the last day of a period of the tenancy, simply two months’ notice will be all that is necessary in most circumstances.
- A section 21 notice will now expire after six months.
- Landlords will not be able to serve a valid section 21 notice if they have failed to provide a valid EPC; a gas safety certificate and the government booklet How to Rent: The checklist for renting in England, in addition to the general prescribed information relating to the deposit. You will need to evidence the provision of these documents.
- If the tenant chooses to vacate the property after the section 21 notice, the landlord must return any advance rent, up to the actual date that the property is vacated.
- If the tenant has raised issues about the condition of the property, the landlord will not be entitled to serve a valid section 21 notice in retaliation, but must provide an adequate response within 14 days. An adequate response is defined as one which outlines the actions the landlord is proposing to take to deal with the issues, as well as setting out timescales for doing so. The repair needs to be reported prior to the service of the section 21 notice for it to make the section 21 notice invalid.
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
- Click on the following link for the guide in relation to the Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 which also come into effect on 1 October 2015.
- There is no period of grace with these regulations - any landlord failing to comply with the regulations from 1 October 2015 may face a £5,000 fine. The regulations cover existing tenancy agreements.
- Regulations require that landlords must have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their rental property which is used as living accommodation and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where solid fuel is used; such as open fires: log burning stoves etc.
- Carbon monoxide alarms are not strictly required in rooms with gas or oil appliances, although guidance suggests that reputable landlords should ensure that alarms are installed in these rooms.
If you require further information relating to these changes, please do not hesitate to contact Michelle on 01202 499255, who will be happy to assist with any questions that you may have.