Right to rent

Landlords and letting agents should be aware that the Deregulation Act 2015, comes into effect on 1st October 2015. Amongst other things the act makes important changes to section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. Firstly and most importantly;  For any tenancies created on or after 1st October 2015 a section 21 notice cannot be served if the tenant has not been given certain prescribed documents. These are; a copy of the energy performance certificate, the gas safety certificate, a copy of the Department of Communities and Local Government’s How to Rent Guide and  a Deposit Protection Certificate (if deposit taken) . A further change stipulates that the section 21notice cannot be issued within the first 4 months of the original tenancy meaning that for any tenancies beginning after 1/10/15 a section 21 notice  cannot be served until after 1/2/16

My understanding is that the new rules do not include statutory periodic tenancies which come into effect on or after 1st October 2015 where the original tenancy was created prior to this date.
The new act also covers so called "Retaliatory Evictions" which means that for tenancies created on or after 1st October 2015 landlords will not be able to serve a section 21 notice for a period of six months following service of a disrepair notice from the local authority. This provision is intended  to prevent a landlord evicting a tenant who has complained about the condition/disrepair of a property. A landlord will no longer be able to serve a section 21 notice where;
The tenant has made a written complaint to the landlord about the condition of the property (before the Notice has been served)

The landlord has not provided an adequate written explanation within 14 days – presumably this will be to include an inspection and schedule of repairs
The Local Authority has served an Improvement Notice or Emergency Remedial Notice
If an Improvement Notice has been served you can not serve a Section 21 Notice for 6 months.

If it is proved that the condition of the property is the fault of the tenant then the landlord can serve a section 21 notice, however I would imagine that this will need to be agreed by an independent person, such as a surveyor.

The new act also removes the requirement for a periodic tenancy section 21(4) notice to end on the last day of a period of the tenancy. This means that it is no longer  necessary to have regard to the rent period when issuing notice.Tto protect the tenant the act also provides a statutory requirement for repayment of rent to the tenant where the tenant has paid rent in advance and the section 21 notice requires possession part way through the advance payment period. The tenant must not have been in occupation of the property for one or more whole days of that period.

If you are advertising a property now, chances are that your tenancy will start after the 1st of October.  Therefore I strongly advise that in addition to  the Deposit Protection Certificate that  you have an Energy Performance Certificate and a Gas Safety Certificate and that you give the tenant a copy of the How to Rent guide – making sure they sign to say they have received each piece of documentation thus avoiding any comeback on the process of serving the section 21 form.

Parkinson Property

17th September 2015


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