A wave of new regulations affecting landlords & tenants of residential tenancies are coming into force this year. So don’t be fooled by the pro-Brexit brigade who suggest that we are going to leave bureaucracy behind when we leave the EU.
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act.
From 20th March, all landlords – in both the social and private sectors – must ensure their property is fit for human habitation, both when the tenancy begins and throughout its life. If the landlord does not comply, a tenant will have the right to sue for breach of contract in the courts.
Client Money Protection (CPM)
Client money protection schemes give landlords and tenants confidence that their money is safe when it is being handled by an agent. Where an agent is a member of a client money protection scheme, it enables a tenant, landlord or both to be compensated if all or part of their money is not repaid.
This will be mandatory from 1st April. It means that all agents managing tenancies must belong to an approved CMP scheme and produce a certificate to prove this if requested. They also have to notify clients if their membership ceases. Penalties will be up to £30,000 for non-compliance.
Tenants Fees Act.
From 1st June, this new law will apply to all new tenancy agreements. The aim of the Act is to reduce the costs that tenants can face at the outset, and throughout, a tenancy, and is part of a wider package of measures aimed at rebalancing the relationship between tenants and landlords to deliver a fairer, good quality and more affordable private rented sector.
The main points include:
- no deposit the more than five weeks rent in the case of properties where the annual rent is under £50,000, or more than 6 weeks rent if it is over £50,000.
- The amount of a holding deposit which a tenant is asked to pay an agent before being granted a tenancy will be restricted to one week’s rent.
- Fees for failure to meet certain terms of a tenancy agreement – e.g. losing keys – will only be allowed if they are referred to in the tenancy agreement and the amount of the fee must not exceed the reasonable cost incurred by the landlord or agent. There is a similar provision if a tenancy agreement is varied or assigned.
Five yearly electrical safety checks.
These are already required for houses in multiple occupation – HMOs. The government is expected to introduce regulations to extend this to all tenancies. An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) will be required.
With thanks to EMPO (East Midlands Property Owners Ltd). You can read more on their website – www.empo.co.uk