Keeping up to date with new legislation affecting landlords can be challenging so here is a list of some of the recent changes.
- Evictions: Although all evictions were put on hold until after May 31, 2021, except in limited circumstances, even now with the ban lifted the government is urging landlords to try to resolve matters amicably.
- Section 21: For these notices - which allow landlords to regain possession of property at the end of a fixed-term assured shorthold tenancy, or one with no fixed end date - a longer notice period is required currently. Landlords must use new paperwork which reflects the most recent changes in time limits, with an updated form 6A for a no-fault possession notice under section 21.
- Debt management: The Debt Respite Scheme, or Breathing Spaces, came into force last month. Now, a debt advisor authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), or a local authority can start what is known as a ‘breathing space moratorium’. This will provide someone in financial difficulties with legal protections from creditors, and in this context the landlord will usually be the creditor and tenant the debtor.
- Property Management: Every property should have an electrical safety compliance certificate since April 1, 2021, to prove that fixed electrical installations have been safety tested by a qualified electrician. The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations applied to all new tenancies from June 2020, and all existing tenancies were required to comply by April this year. There are few exceptions on residential tenancies, and landlords must ensure that electrical installations are checked by a qualified person to ensure they meet the standards set out in the BS 7671: 2018 Wiring Regulations and an Electrical Safety Condition Report – or EICR – must be provided to existing tenants within 28 days and before a tenancy starts for new tenants. The electrical installation must be visually checked on a regular basis, and a full check undertaken by a qualified person at least every five years.
- Carbon Monoxide: The outcome of a review of carbon monoxide alarm requirements is expected later this year. Currently limited to solid fuel appliances in the private rented sector, the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 may be extended to the installation of oil and gas boilers and to social housing.
- Pets: Following the huge spike in pet ownership during the pandemic, being a pet-friendly landlord came another step closer, with the government amending its' Model Tenancy Agreement (MTA) to make allowing pets the default position.
- Right To Rent: There are further changes in validating prospective tenants under Right to Rent rules. Firstly, because of Brexit, since January the EU-Exit grace period has allowed EEA citizens to continue to use their passport or national identity card to demonstrate their right to rent in the UK, but this comes to an end on 30 June 2021.
- Making Tax Digital: All landlords with a turnover of more than £85,000 should already be reporting their VAT digitally, under HMRC’s MTD initiative.
For more information click here for the Home Minders Let Only Landlord Factsheet.