Over the last 6 weeks we have met many of our clients on our workshops which have covered the Deregulation Bill, Legionnaires’ Disease & the Immigration Act 2014 – we understand that training requires a regular commitment, however, the half-day sessions have been extremely well received. You will learn the most important information without having to spend much time searching for it. Whilst a lot of the change seems onerous, you will be better placed to identify and exploit opportunities, and avoid errors.
The Deregulation Bill was given Royal Assent on Friday 27th March 2015.This change in legislation has been expected for sometime now and working in a fast paced, competitive environment means that we do not have time to keep up with news and trends.
Here are some of the key points to be aware of:-
The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
An EPC should be provided to EVERY PROSPECTIVE TENANT at point of enquiry about a property as it is part of the decision making process. The EPC should NOT only be given once a tenancy has begun.
Tenancy Deposit Protection
Finally, after 21 months’ of waiting, the Superstrike case has been has been overturned. Landlords no longer have to worry about re-protecting a deposit when the end of the fixed term arrives and the tenancy becomes a Statutory Periodic Tenancy.
ALL deposits ever taken that are still being held must be protected within 90 days. Once this has been done, the deposit protection certificate and all prescribed information for tenants must be served on the tenant. If any deposit has not been protected or returned to the tenant a Section 21 Notice which is served will not be valid.
Additional Information Relating to Prescribed Information
Where a letting agent has received a deposit on behalf of a landlord, the letting agent’s contact details can be given in the Prescribed Information instead of the landlord’s details.
The Section 21 Notice
A Section 21 Notice served in a period after the fixed term has ended (Periodic) will no longer be invalid if the date of possession does not end on a tenancy period. Section 35 of the Deregulation Act 2015 simply removes the requirement for a section 21(4) notice to end at the end of a period of the tenancy (England only).
The Act ensures that as long as a full 2 month’s notice via a Section 21 has been served to the tenant(s) then the Section 21 will be valid.
A key change to the service of a Section 21 Notice is that the notice can only be served AFTER the tenant has lived in the property for a minimum of 4 months. A new Section 21 Notice will be required every time a new fixed term is agreed. This should only be served AFTER the new contract has been signed. This measure is to stop the frequent practice of landlords and letting agents serving a Section 21 Notice at the sign up of a tenancy.
Following the serving of a Section 21 Notice, all rent that has been paid for any period where the tenant ceases to live in the property must be repaid to the tenant unless the tenant has continued to live in the property for more than one whole day of that period. This has implications where a tenant who has paid their rent decides to leave when they receive the Section 21 Notice. Regardless of being given 2 months’ notice by the landlord the landlord must refund the rent payment for any period where the tenant ceases to live in the property.
The new retaliatory eviction rules includes new rules around section 21 notices, some of which are effectively needed to make the retaliatory evictions provisions work.
To claim a retaliatory eviction the tenant must have notified the landlord and/or agent in writing regarding the repair in the property or any common parts they have a right to use.
Should a landlord FAIL to give an “adequate response” the tenant would have recourse to complain to the local authority who could then serve a notice on the landlord, setting out “a reasonable timescale” for works to be carried out. So no Section 21 Notice could be served within 6 months of the improvement notice being issued by a local authority.