If you’re a DIY landlord, don’t get caught out by upcoming changes to rental regulations. The experts at Belvoir advise…
- Extension to smoke alarm regulations. Don’t ignore faulty smoke and carbon monoxide alarms! If landlords are informed that their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are faulty, they are now legally required to repair or replace them. Landlords must also ensure that a carbon monoxide alarm has been installed in any room where there is a fixed combustion appliance (including a gas boiler). In addition, when a new fixed combustion appliance is installed, landlords are legally required to install a carbon monoxide alarm. Although the implementation date for this is yet to be announced in England it has been enacted, so check those alarms!
- Levelling Up – On 2nd February 2022 Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities launched the long-awaited Levelling Up White Paper. This policy aims to shift focus and resources away from London and the South East and into some of Britain’s forgotten communities throughout the 2020s. The White Paper centres around 12 quantifiable missions, including a pledge for all homes within the PRS to meet a minimum standard – The Decent Homes Standard. Section 21 ‘no fault evictions’ would be abolished, and the Government is also consulting on the introduction of a Landlords’ Register to help crack down on rogue landlords. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-unveils-levelling-up-plan-that-will-transform-uk or talk to your local Belvoir agent who will be able to guide you through all of these upcoming changes as they unfold.
- The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act aims to help tackle inconsistency and ambiguity of ground rents for future leaseholders and is due to be implemented imminently. The Government is also aiming to protect owner occupiers and landlords of one property from bearing the brunt of the costs of correcting cladding issues, but this does leave portfolio landlords potentially exposed.
- Fire Safety Act – The new Fire Safety Act 2021, designed to strengthen fire safety for multi-occupancy residential buildings is due to be implemented in the near future, this widens the definition of buildings that may need to address further fire safety requirements. The new legislation applies to:
- The building’s structure and external walls (including windows, balconies, cladding, insulation and fixings) and any common parts
- All doors between domestic premises and common parts such as flat entrance doors (or any other relevant door). For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-act-addendum/fire-safety-act-addendum
- Take care of admin! To stay on the right side of the law it is vital that landlords pay attention to detail. For example, ensure you serve terms and conditions within the tenant deposit scheme as well as the prescribed information, and obtain permission to serve the how to rent guide electronically before you do so, or it will not be considered served. Test smoke alarms ON the actual move in day, not when the inventory is done. These, and many other essential details, are all things that a reputable agent can do for you.
- Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) changes. Belvoir is currently awaiting confirmation of the next phase of the minimum stage of EPC requirements to move from the current level E to a level C on new lettings by 2025 and existing lettings by 2028. The changes aim to reduce energy bills for tenants and increase the quality, value, and desirability of a landlord’s assets.
The long-awaited Renting Homes Wales Act is being implemented on 15th July 2022. This is a major change in legislation for the PRS in Wales, changing the nature of tenancies from Assured Shorthold Tenancies to ‘occupation contracts’. The changes included a mandatory six-month notice period after a six-month minimum term for non-fault evictions, some succession rights, required terms and ability to change occupants when a joint occupation holder leaves without a new tenancy being completed.
Scotland has already implemented many changes to the rental market, however there is currently a consultation underway to move towards further tenants’ rights. A reputable agent will keep landlords up to date with all new developments.
The Private Tenancies Bill, which does not yet have an implementation date, contains several changes that will affect the PRS in Northern Ireland. The changes will impact notice periods, rent receipts, tenant deposits, rent increases, smoke alarms, energy efficiency and electrical safety regulations. Failure to implement the new rules will incur penalty breaches and fines. Belvoir will have all the amended processes in place to ensure that landlords remain compliant with the new laws, so make sure you have a chat with your local agent.
To find your local Belvoir office, visit belvoir.co.uk/offices