If you are a landlord and have ever had to go to court to gain possession of your property, you will be aware of the potential pitfalls of landlord and tenant law. The Deregulation Act 2015, which in the whole applies to all tenancies granted after 1 October 2015, has the potential to cause further headache for landlords giving them even more hoops to jump through, both when granting a tenancy and when seeking possession.
The Act now makes it a legal requirement for a landlord granting an assured shorthold tenancy to provide the tenant (preferably at the outset of the tenancy) with:
- A copy of the government’s “How to Rent” leaflet;
- An Energy Performance Certificate; and
- A gas safety certificate.
Landlords also need to ensure at the start of a tenancy that:
- A smoke alarm is installed on each floor of the property that is wholly or partly used as living accommodation;
- A carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room that is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and which contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance; and
- All smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are tested and in proper working order.
The Act also makes it more difficult for landlords seeking possession, especially when serving a notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. While landlords have been aware for some time of the requirements relating to the tenancy deposits, landlords are now prevented from serving a valid section 21 notice:
- Within the first 4 months of the tenancy;
- Unless the landlord has provided the tenant with an Energy Performance Certificate or a gas safety certificate
- Where a tenant has made a written complaint about the condition of the property and the landlord has failed to respond or provide an adequate response (referred to as a ’retaliatory eviction‘).
In addition to the above, the Immigration Act 2014 makes it a legal obligation for landlords to check the immigration status of future tenants to determine whether they have the right to occupy the property. Landlords are also required to ensure that a tenant’s right to occupy does not lapse.
With the above changes it is now more pressing than ever that landlords are aware of the current state of landlord and tenant law. If you are contemplating entering into a new tenancy agreement or looking to obtain possession of a property then it is always best to seek the advice of a professional.