Change to rules from 1st October
Changes to the regulations on rented properties came into effect on 1st October and landlords who don’t comply could face heavy penalties.
Summary of key points:
Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
- Mandatory licensing now applies to buildings with one or two storeys and is no longer limited to HMO that are three or more storeys high.
- Any landlord who lets a property to five or more people (from two or more separate households) must be licensed by their Local Authority. Local Authorities will be able to take further action to crack down on landlords renting out substandard and/or overcrowded homes.
- New rules have also come into force setting minimum requirements for bedrooms in HMO to prevent overcrowding:
- The minimum bedroom space is now 6.51 sq.m for a single bedroom and 10.22 sq.m for rooms occupied by 2 adults.
- Rooms housing children aged 10 and below need to be a minimum size of 4.64 sq.m.
- Landlords are also required to adhere to Council refuse schemes.
- The Prescribed Description Order 2018 provided time for landlords to prepare for the changes and obtain a licence. Landlords of HMO that fall under the new definition will have committed an offence if they did not apply for a licence or a temporary exemption by 1st October 2018.
Assured Shorthold Tenancies
All Assured Shorthold Tenancies regardless of their start date now need to comply with guidelines on serving a Section 21 Notice which enables them to terminate a Tenancy Agreement. The guidelines previously only applied to tenancies created after October 2015.
When issuing a Section 21 Notice of Possession landlords and agents are now required to use Form 6A. This form combines the two previous types of Notices 1 into a single Notice for both periodic and fixed term tenancies. Use of existing Notices should cease from 1st October.
In addition, under the Deregulation Act 2015, landlords and letting agents wishing to issue their tenants with a Section 21 Notice should:
- Ensure that they have shared the “How to Rent; the checklist for renting in England” guide with tenants
- Ensure that the property has an up to date Gas Safety Certificate and that the tenants have seen it.
- Publish the property’s EPC (except when not required).
- Inform tenants under which scheme their deposit is protected.
- Provide a copy of the licence to all of the tenants where the property is licensed.
There is some doubt as to whether these documents need to be served on pre October 2015 tenancies, but we would suggest that it’s better to do so in most circumstances.
If you are a landlord and need any advice on these changes or any other legal issue, we will be happy to help. Please contact 0114 220 1795 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.