With so many new laws in the buy to let business, it can be increasingly difficult for landlords to self-manage their portfolios and ensure that are up to date with current legislation.
The Deregulation Act, which introduced new regulations on 1st October 2015, means that landlords and agents setting up new tenancies, or renewing tenancies after this date have more obligations to adhere to.
Now a ‘How to Rent’ guide must be issued to tenants so that they are fully aware of their rental responsibilities. Landlords must provide the tenant with all the relevant safety paperwork.
Our advice here would be to get all this paperwork signed at the same time as the tenancy agreement. If the relationship with your tenant breaks down at any point, the tenant could make it hard for you to access the premises to carry out these relevant safety checks.
The deregulation act was initiated to help deal with ‘rogue landlords’, however for smaller landlords this could be viewed as extra admin which could ultimately discourage them from further investment or lead them to sell current rental properties.
All landlords can now only serve their tenants with a section 21 notice after the first four months of the tenancy, not at the start. The new section 21 notice will make things much easier for landlords, as it combines the old section 21 terms and periodic notices into one simple format.
The new notice is used with tenancy agreements granted after the 1st October 2015. Tenancies granted before this date still adhere to the old rules. However in October 2018 all tenancies regardless of the start date will be subject to the new rules.
The biggest worry for landlords is the ‘retaliation eviction’ rule, tenants may abuse the system in an attempt to not pay any rent. Tenants must put their complaints in writing to the landlord, who then has 14 days to respond with how they are going to remedy the situation.
If the landlord ignores this request then the tenant can contact their local council and complain to the EHO (Environmental Health Officer) who will serve the landlord with an improvement notice.
It is very clear that legislative changes need to be heavily promoted and training needs to be improved to help landlords keep up to date.
The next key piece of legislation to come into effect on the 1st of February 2016 is the ‘Right to Rent’. Landlords will be responsible for checking their prospective tenant’s documentation.
This includes UK or European passport status, to ensure the tenant has the right to reside in the UK.
If this goes unchecked and the tenant is found to be an illegal immigrant the landlord could be fined up to £3000 per tenant.
Our advice is to try and understand your obligations as a landlord, if you do struggle to manage your rental properties then a property management company may be a good option.
For more information on how we can help you visit our website today.