Forward planning is the key to staying on the right side of private tenancy laws. Sarah Coates-Madden kicks off the new year with a look at what 2019 has in store for landlords…
I thought I’d begin the new year with a review of my responsibilities as a landlord. What changes lie ahead and what preparations do I need to make?
I’m sure most private landlords would agree that the laws affecting tenancies change frequently, so it pays to look to the future and be ready to adapt.
Last year, for example, marked the introduction of new regulations governing the letting of houses in multiple occupation and Form 6A Section 21 notices for pre-October 2018 tenancies – the considerable ramifications of which I discussed in detail last month.
A raft of changes is expected again this year, not least to the MEES regulations, which govern the energy efficiency of domestic rental property. Until now, landlords have not been obliged to spend anything on improvements that were not wholly financed by other sources. However, following a government consultation, you will have to commit up to £3,500 per property to make it more efficient, unless it would still fail to achieve an E-rating on the Energy Performance Certificate after the work had been carried out.
You should also be ready for an overhaul of the health and safety legislation applying to rental property, as the government announced in October it would undertake a wide-ranging review.
Although local authorities use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System and can take action against landlords when properties fall short of these standards, they have not been updated for more than 12 years. The review will consider whether it is appropriate to bring in minimum criteria for common problems found in rental accommodation. Watch this space for more details when the findings are released.
Finally, the media made much of plans to ban the fees letting agents charge tenants last year. This is still in the pipeline and is expected to come into force in the spring. We are also anticipating additional legislation capping the amount of deposit you can demand, to no more than six weeks’ rent.
For more information about the legal changes affecting landlords, or a professional review of your obligations, don’t hesitate to contact me or Anna Pettinger on (0114) 218 4000.