There have been a number recent changes to housing legislation, including:
Smoke detectors must be fitted on every floor of a let property. They can be battery operated. HMOs (House in Multiple Occupation) need to have fixed wired interlinked smoke detectors. Landlords must be able to demonstrate that the smoke detectors work at the point the tenant checks into a property. Brighton Lets’ Inventory Clerks now do this on your behalf, where you have an Inventory & Schedule of Condition report produced for your property. These reports are highly recommended as they will play a vital role in the event of any disputes at the end of the Tenancy.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
These should be installed where solid fuels are used. It is not a legislative requirement where fossil fuel is burnt i.e. gas boilers.
Brighton Lets has for some time now, arranged for smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to be fitted into properties unless wired-in systems are already present or the landlord dictates otherwise. These are checked and tested at each annual Gas Safety Check or by the Inventory Clerk when a tenant checks into a property.
Where a deposit has been registered and all information presented to the tenant, it is no longer a requirement to re-issue the deposit information again if a tenant signs up with a renewal tenancy agreement or the tenancy runs on, on a Periodic Tenancy basis.
Brighton Lets has been keeping abreast of the recent changes (Rodriguez-v-Superstrike court case) around deposit registrations and undertakes this as part of the lettings and property management process.
Right to Rent
Landlords can face up to 5 years in prison if found to be deliberately letting to tenants that do not have “right to rent” status: https://www.lettingaproperty.com/landlord/blog/2015/07/do-your-tenants-have-the-right-to-rent.
Brighton Lets notes that this new rule comes into effect on 1 February 2016 and is keeping up to date with exactly what new checks will need to be done as this new law comes into force.
For tenancies created on or after 1st October 2015, a Section 21 Notice cannot be served for a period of six months following service of a Disrepair Notice from a local authority. A Section 21 Notice will also be invalid if a landlord has failed to provide an adequate written response within 14 days of the complaint being received.
All remaining assured shorthold tenancies in England will comply with the under the new rules from 1st October 2018.
Brighton Lets says this is very new legislation and is pleased to say that it does not have any landlords who let sub-standard properties. Responses to tenants’ call regarding repairs or problems are provided on the day the tenant contacts Lynne at Brighton Lets, or the following day at the latest, if non-urgent. Contractors are contacted at that same time. Urgent problems are attended to immediately with Contractors being called immediately.
If a property develops a serious defect, Brighton Lets will work hard on behalf of the landlord to ensure everything that can be done to rectify the problem is attended to as soon as possible, thus reducing the likelihood of a retaliatory eviction matter ever arising. For further information please click here.
Section 21 Notices
It is no longer possible to serve a Section 21 notice in the first four months of a Tenancy.
Once a Section 21 notice has been given, possession proceedings must start (where appropriate) within six months of the service of the Section 21 notice. If this does not happen, the order becomes invalid.
Section 21 Notices can only be served on a tenant if the tenant has already received the following:
- A valid copy of an up-to-date Energy performance certificate (EPC)
- A current gas safety certificate carried out by a Gas Safety Capita registered engineer
- A copy of the most recent booklet ‘How to Rent’ which is a checklist for renting in England and must be provided at the start of every tenancy. This document is available for download here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent
For tenancies created prior to 1st October 2015, the existing Section 21(1)(b) and Section 21(1)(a) Notices should be served.
Inspections are required if there is an open water tank with warm water or hot tub. They are not required where there is a combi or condensing boiler. Inspections are required anywhere where water sits in a container without a covering.
Important: please advise Lynne if you think your property might contain such a water container so that it can be checked. If you are unsure you are advised to have the property checked.
In 2016 tenants will have the right to request that Landlords make the recommended changes to the property which are outlined on the Energy Performance Certificate. In April 2018 it will be unlawful for a landlord to let a property with an energy rating of F or G.
Exception: April 2020: by this date the requirement for a minimum E rating will apply, not just to new lets but also to existing tenancies.