In a world of forever changing landlord compliance and regulations, letting your property can feel like a minefield. Fortunately help is at hand.
Despite having to navigate new regulations and changing legislation, the rental market is still in high demand across the UK. Looking ahead to the future months, this is what legislation you should be aware of in 2021 and into 2022.
Regaining possession of a rented property
Unsurprisingly, the impact on obtaining possession of their privately rented property as a result of the pandemic remains at the top of the majority of landlords minds. Extended periods of notice in England come to an end on October 1st. Full details will shortly be made available on gov.uk. In Scotland, COVID regulations are scheduled to remain until March 31st 2022.
Notwithstanding increased notice periods, both the courts and bailiffs are facing a backlog of cases. This naturally has a knock-on effect for landlords seeking possession in terms of the time it takes for cases to be heard and possession obtained.
With notice periods varying from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and in some cases dependant on the level of arrears, please contact your local office for further information.
If possession is at the forefront of landlords’ minds then a close second for those with flats will be building safety. News that the majority of mortgage providers will no longer require an EWS1 (external wall system) form for buildings below 18m tall was particularly welcome for those looking to sell or re-mortgage. Landlords should be aware that the Building Safety Act, when enacted, will sit alongside the Fire Safety Act covering both England and Wales. A new Building Safety Regulator will oversee a stricter safety regime for existing buildings as well as ensuring that new buildings meet regulatory requirements. Increased accountability for safety in individual buildings, by way of an individual “Accountable Person” for managing building safety and risk on a day-to-day basis, is included in the regulations. Ensuring that prospective tenants are aware of the safety status and emergency arrangements relating to the building in which their flat is located remains of paramount importance.
It is impossible to talk of building safety without reminding landlords of the importance of ensuring that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are installed and tested in accordance with the regulations in their area of jurisdiction. Your local office will happily provide further information on request.
New regulations for Welsh landlords
In Wales the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 is expected to come into force in Spring 2022. Set to provide consistency across tenancy documentation, similar to that seen in Scotland, the changes aim to clearly set out the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and tenant.
Minimum energy efficiency requirements (EPC)
Turning to energy efficiency, the UK Government has proposed that all private rented tenancies in England and Wales should meet Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C within five years. Current rules stipulate that most properties must meet a minimum EPC Band E.
In a world with very little certainty, a busy twelve months of landlord regulatory change seems assured.