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Back in March 2015, The Deregulation Act 2015 was passed which covers various points of interest in relation to landlord-tenant law. This Deregulation Act (DA 2015) came into force on the 1st October and now applies to any tenancies granted after this date. With the DA 2015, there’s a whole host of new requirements for landlords to make sure they adhere to when granting a tenancy or regaining possession of their property in the event of a dispute.

As implied in the name, DA 2015 aims to clarify and simplify a number of existing property law areas, rescind no longer fit for purpose legislation and slash red tape. To landlords, the name ‘deregulation’ might be slightly deceiving as their regulatory burden, if anything, has been increased! Either way the law is now in force and landlords need to know what is legally required of them; whether you are a seasoned landlord or a new property-owner looking to enter into the market.

Providing Documentation

It is now a legal requirement for landlords to provide certain specific pieces of documentation to their tenant upon granting an assured shorthold tenancy, namely:

  1. A gas safety certificate;
  2. An energy performance certificate;
  3. A copy of the ‘How to Rent’ leaflet produced by the government.

Health and Safety Regulations

At the start of a tenancy, private sector landlords will need to have installed, at the minimum, one smoke alarm on every floor of their property, plus a carbon monoxide alarm in every room containing a solid fuel burning appliance, such as a wood burning fire, coal fire etc. These regulations, however, apply to every tenancy and not just those agreed after the 1st October. All alarms must be checked to ensure they are in working order.

Tenancy Deposit Schemes

In an amends to the tenancy deposit protection legislation, it is now acceptable to give the details of the agent who protected the deposit at the start of the tenancy in the prescribed information. Previously, it was the landlord’s details that were given. If a landlord took a deposit after 6 April 2007 they must protect the deposit and provide the prescribed information to the tenant.

Evictions

There have been a number of changes in regards to evictions. First to note is that there has been a clamp down on a landlord’s ability to serve a Section 21 notice in certain circumstances to stop ‘retaliatory evictions’. For example, if a tenant makes a complaint, which goes unaddressed by the landlord, the local authority can step in to verify the complaint and serve an improvement notice or more severely a notice of emergency action – if this happens the tenant cannot be evicted for 6 months.

The DA 2015 has also introduced number of other provisions to protect tenants from eviction provisions to stop landlords serving a section 21 eviction notice in certain circumstances. Therefore a tenant cannot be evicted:

  • Where the landlord has not provided a copy of the energy performance certificate, gas safety certificate or the governmental ‘how to rent’ publication
  • During the first four months of the tenancy
  • Where the landlord has not complied with the tenancy deposit protection legislation

With a whole host of changes to landlord and tenant law it is vital that landlords are fully aware of their requirements. Failure to do so could have harmful financial consequences. To speak to me or a member of our dispute resolution team if you have had a problem or to our commercial team if you want to draw up a legally binding contract, give us a call on 0343 507 5151.