In accordance with the Deregulation Act 2015 as from 1st October 2015 there are some important changes with regard to how residential landlords deal with a number of matters including Section 21 notices, complaints about the property, deposits and information that must now be given to new tenants. The changes mainly relate to assured shorthold tenancies (AST’S) entered into on or after 1st October 2015.
For assured shorthold tenancies entered into before 1st October 2015:
(i) Landlords can still serve a section 21 Notice at any time during the tenancy using the previous form of the section 21 Notice
(ii) Once a section 21 notice is served it does not expire (unless you enter into a new fixed term tenancy or amended the terms of the tenancy agreement)
However from October 2018 the above will change to the rules which apply to assured shorthold tenancies entered into from 1st October 2015.
For assured shorthold tenancies entered into from 1st October 2015:
(i) The Landlord will need to provide the following documents to tenants prior to entering into a fixed term tenancy:
(a) An energy performance certificate (EPC)
(b) Gas safety certificate (and/or within 28 days of the annual check of the gas appliances)
(c) A government document called ‘How to rent: The checklist for renting in England’
(ii) In relation to serving section 21 notices:
(a) The section 21 notice now has to be in a prescribed form
(b) Landlords can only serve a section 21 notice after 4 months of the first tenancy
(c) There is now a 6 month time limit (from the date of service of the S.21 Notice) where the notice expires
(d) Receipt of a Health and Safety Improvement Notice served by the local authority results in the prohibition of service of a section 21 notice for 6 months
(e) In England only, a landlord's ability to serve a Section 21 notice is also restricted where a tenant has complained about the condition of the premises and/or the common parts and the landlord failed to respond within 14 days or provide an inadequate response or responded by serving a Section 21 notice. The tenant can then complain to the local authority which must then inspect the property. If the local authority inspects the property it can serve a remedial notice or carry out emergency remedial action. This would invalidate a previously served S.21 notice, although the landlord can still potentially serve a section 8 notice
(iii) If a tenant writes to a Landlord complaining about the condition of a property the Landlord has to respond in writing within 14 days setting out what actions he proposes to take and a timeline for any remedial work required
(iv) Rental deposits paid by tenants to a landlord after 6th April 2007 but not registered in an authorised rental deposit scheme by the 23rd July 2015 deadline or within 30 days of receiving the money will need to be returned to the tenant as until a landlord does so they cannot serve a Section 21 Notice on the tenant.
If the prescribed information relating to the deposit has not been provided to tenants (and any other relevant persons such as guarantors) within 30 days of the deposit being received then again the landlord is preventing from serving a valid section 21 notice.
Nevertheless, if the deposit money has been held in a scheme within 30 days the Landlord can still provide the tenant with the ‘prescribed information’ relating to the rental deposit scheme at a later date. Once the landlord has provided the “prescribed information” the landlord can serve a valid section 21 notice.
(v) Pursuant to The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. every floor of a property must have a functioning smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room of which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a “solid fuel burning combustion appliance”
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Tel: 020 7935 1095
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