Summary of PRS Legislative Changes 1 October 2015

Filed in Breaking News, Landlords by on 1st October, 2015

Rob-Crawford-Profile_500x438From Rob Crawford (Chair NLA Wessex). As most of you are aware there are a number of legislation changes coming into effect from 1st October.  The following has been issued by the Government as a summary of these changes:

Summary of Legislative Changes 1 October 2015

Retaliatory Eviction

On 1 October 2015 a number of provisions in the Deregulation Act 2015 will come into force. These provisions are designed to protect tenants against unfair eviction. From 1 October, 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. The landlord is also required to ensure that the repairs are completed.

Other changes to evictions

The Deregulation Act 2015 also makes it more straightforward for landlords to evict a tenant where they are allowed to do so. Landlords can face unnecessary costs when going to court to seek possession of their property, where the case is thrown out of court on a technical error in the notice (for example, specifying an incorrect date). We have introduced a new form that landlords must use when they are relying on a ‘no fault’ eviction (a section 21 eviction) which will help to reduce this, and to save time and inconvenience for landlords, helping them to get their property back as soon as possible. This form must be used for tenancies entered into on or after 1 October, and we encourage its use for tenancies entered into before that date as well in order to reduce the capacity for error.  Supporting notes and the new Section 21 (Form 6A) can be found here.

There are some additional new rules, particularly around the information which must be provided to tenants before landlords can serve the new section 21 form. Guidance on the detail of all of these changes can be found here.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 have been approved by Parliament and come into force on 1 October 2015. These will require private sector landlords to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties, and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove etc). After that, the landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.

The regulations aim to reduce the risk of injury or death to tenants caused by fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. An explanatory booklet for local authorities, giving further details and helping to prepare for enforcement, can be found here.

We have also produced an explanatory booklet especially for landlords that is available here.

Other announcements

We have also updated our ‘How to Rent’ guide and Model Tenancy Agreement (updated version still to be published).

The ‘How to Rent’ guide is a short, user-friendly booklet that details the key rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants. The Model Tenancy Agreement has been produced for the benefit of landlords and tenants and includes clauses that encourage longer, more family friendly tenancies.

We believe that these measures present a strong package that will help to increase standards in the private rented sector and help tenants to feel safer and more secure in their homes, and strike an appropriate balance that will benefit landlords and tenants.

About the Author ()

Rob Crawford is the chairman of the Association of Local Landlords (Wessex). Rob is a practicing landlord with a property portfolio that includes small private residential properties and HMO's. Rob is a qualified letting agent and former owner of Kingfisher Lettings & Management. He is now a share holder of the successful online lettings company Lettingsupermarket.com.

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