Legal Lettings Update for July 2021
There are 179 pieces of legislation that affect the Private Rental Sector and they have been changing on almost a monthly basis. I thought it would be an idea to give you a quick precis of the main ones that you need to be aware of to make sure that you stay on the right side of the law!
Legal Lettings Update: Electrical Safety Standards
These apply to all new tenancies from June 2020 and existing tenancies from April 2012 and will need to be carried out every 5 years
What it means to you:
You must have had electrical installations checked by a qualified electrician to ensure they meet the standards set out in the BS 7671: 2018 Wiring Regulations and an Electrical Safety Condition Report – or EICR – your electrician saying “all is OK: will not cover you, they must be prepared to sign off the official report.
- Any C1 issue must have been dealt with immediately.
- C2 within 28 days.
- If you don’t have this there is the potential of a £30,000 fine.
If you have given us permission to deal with this on your behalf you have nothing to worry about. If you are still holding off, you are now breaking the law and will have an issue if you require your property back.
Notice periods: Section 21
If you are confused about the notice you need to give to a tenant if you want to get the property back, I am not surprised. With the onset of Covid notice periods went from 2 months then 3 months then 6 months and now since June its 4 months. An watch this space as the Renters reform bill is around the corner – we are expecting to hear more about this in the Autumn. There have been a number of possible legislative updates which may make up this new legislation but one thing we are pretty certain of is that Section 21 will be replaced by a more active Section 8.
If you are in the unenviable position of needing to evict your tenant. Be aware that even though evictions have been allowed to proceed since May. The government is very keen that disputes are resolved out of court. This could mean mediation which you will have to prove you have tried. QED do not expect your court date to give you what you want.
Debt Respite Scheme
Came into force this year. It means that a local authority or debt advisor can start what has become known as a ‘breathing space moratorium’.
It provides a party with financial difficulties legal protection from creditors for up to 60 days if it falls under ‘Standard Breathing Space’. It could, therefore, affect you if you are owed back rent. If it goes this far it means that you cannot pursue other avenues so it’s best to talk with your tenant and work out a payment plan before it gets to this stage.
Right to Rent in the UK
- Since the middle of June, it is now required that you meet anyone taking your property face to face, whilst their documents are checked.
- By the end of June, your tenants will need to prove they have the right to rent in the UK due to the fact we are no longer part of the EU.
- You will not be able to grant a tenancy to anyone who cannot prove they have the right to be here.
- You also need to make sure that you cannot be accused of discrimination.
Model tenancy agreement and pets in rental properties
- The government amended its model tenancy agreement (MTA) to include pets as a default.
- This agreement is NOT the legal default agreement, just their guidance, so you do not have to use this tenancy.
- However, there are quite a few active agencies promoting this tenancy and we are starting to receive more requests from tenants to use this agreement.
- The main question I would ask you is why you wouldn’t include pets if your property has a garden and your lease (if you have one) does not exclude pets.