Will you be ready for the three most important legislation changes happening this year?
The chances of the Renters Reform Bill landing this year are very slim…
However, there are other legislative changes that as a landlord, you really need to be aware of, which will be landing in 2022.
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations
The changes here mean that from 1st October 2022, you will need to install a carbon monoxide alarm in every room that has a fixed combustion appliance. Strangely this does not include a gas cooker but since most boilers are in the kitchen you should already have a carbon monoxide alarm positioned here.
In addition, when you have a new fixed combustion appliance installed, you must have a new carbon monoxide alarm in place- and that’s by law!
With regard to replacement or repair of a carbon monoxide alarm, this still lays at the landlord’s feet. So, if you are informed / find out that the alarm is faulty it is your responsibility to replace the alarm. The tenant still has responsibility to test alarms regularly.
Byrne V Harwood- Delgardo
Sounds awfully boring doesn’t it? That being said, it was actually a very interesting case which concluded in May this year. This case reiterated that if you don’t get things right at the start of the tenancy, you have lost the right to issue notice should you need to.
The case was based around gas safety certificates. It all started in 2019 when the tenants initially signed to say they had received the gas certificate but later disputed this. The gas certificate was dated September 2019 (when they moved in) but did not receive this until November 2019. The next gas certificate was issues on October 2020 prior to a Section 21 being issued.
The judge ruled that the Section 21 was invalid due to the fact that the tenants did not receive the gas certificate at the point the tenancy started.
Renters Reform Bill
It’s a little way off and the fact that Michael Gove (the housing minister at the time and main protagonist) was proposing this got sacked by the soon to be ex-PM – you couldn’t make it up! This means there might be a few reiterations before it lands .
To recap on what was suggested:
Section 21 – what has become known as the ‘no fault eviction’, will most probably be abolished in its present form. It has been suggested that new stronger grounds will be introduced for things such as rent arrears and anti-social behaviour. What we do not know is how this will work.
As a landlord what I am aiming for, is a person who will pay the rent when it is due and not cause more than normal wear and tear. I sincerely believe this the aim of any professional landlord. Given the fact (from our data) that last year 89% of tenancies were ended by the tenant not the landlord, I think that this is a great sound-bite, but will not make a huge difference. That said, the devil will be in the detail.
Periodic tenancies will become the norm. This is an interesting one as there is such a backlash on short term tenancies ie. AirBnB. The aim was to allow tenants to move out of substandard housing whilst not being kept in situ by a term tenancy. Again the devil will be in the detail.
The Government also plans to allow occupiers to request a pet in their homes. Landlords will need to consider and not unreasonably refuse this request. To support this, The Tenancy Fees Act 2019 will be amended to allow landlords to ask a pet owner to have pet insurance.
Rent review clauses will be banned, and notice periods for rent increases doubled. Landlords will no longer be able to refuse to rent to families or those receiving benefits.
The Decent Homes Standard, currently used in the social housing sector, will set a minimum standard of condition that properties in the private rented sector must meet.
A new ombudsman will be created to settle landlord disputes without needing to go to court. This is intended to allow speedier low-cost resolution processes when an occupier makes a complaint. All private landlords will need to register with the ombudsman.
An online property portal will be set up to help landlords understand, and comply with, their responsibilities.