Legislation Update to Landlords

There have been a lot of changes made to legislation recently in the Lettings industry. Here at CXG we are on top of all legislative changes and always ready to respond accordingly, however, for your information we have set out below a summary of the main changes over the last 6 months.

The Deregulation Act 2015 and Retaliatory Evictions

In short, the biggest impact this has on Landlords is with regards to repairs and evictions. The deregulation act prevents a Landlord from being able to serve a Section 21 possession notice whilst repairs are outstanding at the property.

Where a tenant makes a genuine complaint about the condition of their property that has not been addressed by their landlord, their complaint has been verified by a local authority inspection, and the local authority has served either an improvement notice or a notice of emergency remedial action, a landlord cannot evict that tenant for 6 months using the ‘no fault’ eviction procedure (a section 21 eviction). A ‘no fault’ eviction is one where the tenant does not have to have done anything wrong, for example not paying the rent, to be asked to leave. The landlord is also required to ensure that the repairs are completed. The process the tenant should go through is set out in more detail below.

This does not have an impact on the Landlord’s ability serve a Section 8 possession notice for rent arrears or another qualified ‘serious’ breach of tenancy, under one of the 16 grounds of Section 8.

How are CXG dealing with this?

CXG operate an online repairs management system for tenants, whereby tenants can report the faults directly into our maintenance team and a full audit trail is kept of each repair, the actions taken and time taken to resolve. It is very rare that a repair is reported to the Local Authority, as we have an in­house maintenance company on hand to resolve any issues efficiently and to a high standard. We therefore take all necessary actions to stick to our obligations under the Deregulation Act 2015.

How to Rent Checklist

As part of the deregulation act, it became necessary for each tenant to be handed a government produced ‘How to Rent’ booklet upon moving into the property. This short booklet sets out the agents, Landlords and Tenants obligations with regard to the tenancy and answers FAQ’s. Along with this booklet, it is essential to also provide the tenant with an up to date gas safety certificate and Energy Performance Certificate prior to taking occupation of the property.

How are CXG dealing with this?

Before the move­in appointment, we prepare a ‘Tenancy Pack’ for the new tenant. This is a printed and bound pack specific to each property, containing the following documents:

  • Tenancy Agreement
  • Deposit Protection Certificate
  • Inventory and Check In Report
  • How to Rent Booklet
  • Energy Performance Certificate
  • Gas Safety Certificate
  • Periodic Electrical Inspection (if applicable)

By providing these documents within one handy booklet ensure the tenant can’t easily lose individual pieces of paper, and makes it easy to refer to anything regarding their tenancy all within the same booklet.

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015

On the 1st October 2015, the government introduced legislation relating to Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms in rented properties. Previously, there was no requirement to have any smoke alarms in a rented property (unless built after 1992 to comply with Building Regulations). The new legislation makes it mandatory to have at least one battery powered smoke alarm installed on each storey of a rented property.hands-installing-carbon-monoxide-detector-419223

Further to this, it is also now mandatory to install a Carbon Monoxide monitor in each room with a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. wood or coal). The alarms must be tested and working at the start of each tenancy.

How are CXG dealing with this?

Our first step was to ensure any properties with solid fuel appliances were fitted with CO alarms immediately. We then took this one step further and started to install CO alarms in all properties with gas appliances, although not mandatory at this time. We are confident this will be made mandatory soon, and have already been proven right to install these as a property with a gas boiler was subject to a Carbon Monoxide leak, and the alarm notified the family of this to make a safe escape from the house and call National Grid in to isolate the gas. Further to this, we also test all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms on each inspection of the property to ensure they are in good working order. We find quite often that tenants remove batteries from smoke alarms, and keep a record if this is the case to protect the Landlord’s interests in the event of any fire to show we have kept to all laws relating to smoke and CO alarms.

We obviously manage a large number of properties and are working through them all to install CO alarms as quickly as we practically can.

Right to Rent Immigration Checks

This is the most recent of legislative changes in the lettings industry, coming into force on the 1st February 2016. All Landlord and Letting Agents are required to check the ‘Right to Live in the UK’ for anyone applying for a rental property. This can only be verified by sight of original documents that prove the eligibility to reside in this country, e.g. a passport or a birth certificate. Copies must be made of these documents and kept for at least one year after the tenancy has ended. Anyone born in the UK with a UK passport has the right to live in the UK, as does any EU national. However further immigration checks must be carried out on anyone applying to rent the property of non­EU nationality.

How are CXG dealing with this?

We have signed up to HomeLet Verify. This is a system that allows us to check and produce a ‘Right to Rent’ report on each tenant that applies to rent a property through us. This system will then keep permanent records of each check we carry out to ensure we meet the one year deadline of holding documents after a tenancy ends.

Summary

Here at CXG, as voluntary members of the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) as well as The Property Ombudsman we ensure we are constantly kept abreast of any changes to legislation affecting our industry.

You may not be aware of all the recent changes to have impacted on the rental industry, but we can assure you we are constantly adapting our business to the changing demands of the industry to ensure that you as a Landlord are always meeting your obligations, and will continue to do so into the future.

If you already let your property with us, are thinking of purchasing a buy­to­let property, or looking for a new agent, and have any questions at all with regards to your obligations or the services we can offer, we welcome you to contact our Lettings Manager Tom Archer on either 01440 712216 or tom.archer@cxglettings.co.uk

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Posted on: 10 February 2016
Categories: All articles, CXG News, Property investor advice
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