Are you aware of the new legislation brought in this year? Or the government’s new proposals for 2016? Being a Landlord has got a lot harder in 2015 and with new proposals for 2016, it isn’t going to get easier.
Davis Brown Chartered Surveyor’s and Estate Agents in W1, London are here to help and we have put together a brief outline of the changes brought in this year.
Let’s begin by re-capping over the new legislation brought in over the course of 2015….
- Tax relief
The Chancellor announced in his summer budget that the current 10% wear and tear allowance will be scrapped and from April 2016 Landlords will only be able to deduct the costs they actually incur for replacing furnishings, whether the property is furnished, un-unfurnished and part furnished, in their rental properties.
- The Deregulation Act 2015
These new rules have been brought in to prevent retaliatory evictions, i.e. serving a Section 21 notice if a tenant is complaining about disrepair. From 1st October 2015, any new AST or fixed term replacement tenancy will restrict a Landlord’s ability to serve a Section 21 Notice if:
- The tenant has made a written complaint about the condition of the property or any common parts (N.B. The Act states that the agent and tenant must put the complaint and repair report in writing).
- The Landlord or their agent has not provided an adequate written response in 14 days or responded by serving a Section 21 Notice.
- The tenant informs the local authority who serves a Relevant Notice or carries out emergency remedial work.
- N.B. The Tenant is protected from eviction for six months from the date of service of that notice, regardless of whether they raise the issue with the Landlord first.
- Changes to Section 21 Notices
The Deregulation Act also introduced a number of changes to when a Landlord can serve a Section 21. The good news is that Landlords do not have to specify that the tenancy must end the last day of a periodic tenancy. However, the new rules do specify that a Landlord cannot serve a Section 21 Notice within the first four months of a NEW tenancy. A new template notice must also be used for tenancies that start on or after 1st October 2015.
Unfortunately, the administration involved before the tenancy commences has become more arduous and a Landlord or their agents must ensure the following information is supplied to the Tenant otherwise Landlord will not be able to serve a Section 21 Notice:
- A Gas Safety certificate covering fixed and portable appliances
- The Energy Performance Certificate
- The Government’s ‘How to Rent – The Checklist for renting in England’
- Any required Licences
- Changes to Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations
The Government introduced the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations (2015) and so from 1st October 2015, Landlords will have to ensure that a smoke alarm is fitted on every floor of their property and install a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where a solid fuel is burnt.
It will be the Landlord or their agent’s responsibility to check the alarms work at the start of each new tenancy and also demonstrate this to the tenant.
So, what’s in store for 2016?
Rent to rent
From 1st February 2016 and under Section 22 of the immigration Act 2014 a Landlord is not permitted to authorise an adult to occupy their property unless they have the Right to Rent in the UK. A Landlord or their agent must therefore first establish who will live at the property and obtain, check and copy one or more original documents which demonstrate their Right to Rent in the UK. If the Tenant’s permission to stay in the UK is time limited, you must ensure you make a follow up check. If the follow up check shows the tenant no longer has the right to remain in the UK, the landlord or their agent must report this to the Home Office.
What if I don’t comply I hear you say? Well, you could be fined up to a hefty £3,000 per occupier!
There is no doubt that the process of letting a property has become an administrative minefield and a Landlord has a lot to prepare before you can even hand the keys over the Tenant. Our agents at Davis Brown are ARLA qualified which means that we continuously keep up to date with new legislation to ensure our clients are protected. We undertake a detailed and lengthy administration process to ensure the right checks and documents are served before the tenancy commences. Our in house property management team specialises in Residential Property Management and if you are not already using our services, why not give us a trial run?
Contact us today for more information about our fees.