With the introduction of multiple pieces of legislation in recent years, this has made it increasingly difficult for landlords to keep up to date with new procedures, consequently landlords are falling short when it comes to compliance and leaving themselves open to potential civil/criminal proceedings.
There are over 156 pieces legislation that put an obligation on a landlord, each imposing a different standard that needs to be met; from before a tenancy even starts to how to act once the tenancy has ended. Highlighted below are some of the more relevant regulations and acts:
Tenant Fee Act 2019
Electrical Safety Standards in Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020
The Debt Respite Scheme 2020
Housing Act 2004
Deregulation Act 2015
Landlord and Tenant Act 1987
As well as many more
Laws creating an obligation on landlords has increased by nearly 22% since 2010 alone.
More than 1.7 million tenants in 2018 fell victim to landlords not following correct procedures.
Just over 37% of landlords had not carried out the relevant and correct right to rent checks on their tenants.
Under the Housing Act 2004, it is now a legal requirement to register any deposit that you receive from your tenants, this must be registered within an approved and recognised deposit scheme. In addition to this, there is also a limitation on the amount of deposit that is collected from tenants, this is currently at a maximum of 5 weeks' worth of rent.
Prior to the commencement of a tenancy, it is important that you provide your tenants with the correct documents, this includes providing them with copies of the safety certificates for the property i.e.: Gas Safety Certificate, Electrical Installation Condition Report and Energy Performance Certificate. Additionally, you will also need to provide them with a copy of the most current How to Rent Guide and provide them with information of the selected deposit scheme.
If these documents are not given to the tenant before the tenancy started, then you will be restricted in what notices you will legally be allowed to serve the tenant if needed.
If your property falls within a selective licensing zone or meets the criteria for a House of Multiple Occupancy then it is imperative that a licence is obtained, if you do not apply for a licence then this could lead to hefty fines and penalties.
Use the below link to check to see whether your property falls within one of these areas:
If your property does qualify then as part of a new tenancy commencing, you will need to provide a copy of the licence and the conditions to your tenants in order for them to adhere by them.
When chasing rent arrears from tenants this must be done in such a way as to not be seen as harassment or threatening, otherwise tenants can take criminal action. Therefore, you must chase within sociable hours, not contact them continuously within the same day or make any threats to the tenants that cannot be legally enforced.
Also, with the recent introduction of the recent Debt Respite Scheme, if you are made aware or are issued with a notice that your tenant has applied for Debt Respite then you will be unable to chase for any rent arrears and will be unable to apply to a court to evict the tenant.
Section 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 provides that a landlord must “by notice” give the tenant an address in England or Wales where the tenant can serve their notice to the landlord. The penalty for not complying with this is that no rent will be payable until this notice is served. Usually, this address is provided to tenants through the tenancy agreement, however you will need to provide this if your tenancy was made verbally or, if the landlord changes address or managing agent throughout the tenancy.
As part of a tenants right to quiet enjoyment, landlords are unable to access a property without giving tenants at least 24 hours' notice. Additionally, even if notice is given, if the tenant refuses access then you will still not be able to gain access and will need to wait for their permission.
The above highlighted sections only make up a small amount of the legislative impositions put on property owners, there are countless more that could be added to this. If you are unsure about whether you are compliant then call us now and we can will talk through your property with you!