Below is a summary of the main legal changes which came into force this year and an idea of what you can expect to see in 2016. If we manage your properties on your behalf, we will have handled your obligations to make sure they’re legally let, but if you’ve got any queries about the new and amended laws, please do come and speak to us.
From 1st October:
- Smoke alarms need to be installed and tested in every tenanted property and carbon monoxide detectors in rooms with solid fuel burning appliance.
- For new and renewed tenancies, the tenant must be issued with a copy of the DCLG ‘How to Rent’ Guide; an Energy Performance Certificate; Gas Safety Certificate and confirmation the paid deposit has been protected.
- As part of the Deregulation Bill, retaliatory evictions are legislated against and landlords are obliged to respond to complaints about a property’s condition and make repairs, within set time frames or face the possibility of a subsequent eviction being ruled unlawful.
- From 1st October this year, new rules have come into force relating to section 21 notices to prevent landlords making ‘retaliatory’ or ‘revenge’ evictions.
- Other legislation has been introduced at a local level, such as Liverpool Council requiring landlords to apply for a five-year licence for each of their rented properties.
From 1st February:
- Right to Rent checks must be made on all new tenants, to check they have the right to be in the UK.
- An additional 3% stamp duty is payable on all second homes purchased for above £40,000.
- For those earning income from renting rooms in their house, the tax threshold is rising, from £4,250 a year to £7,500.
- Under The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015, a tenant will be able to reasonably ask for a relevant energy efficiency improvement to the property (see http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/962/part/2/chapter/2/made for details).
From 21st January:
- For all existing tenancies, you must provide Welsh Water and Dee Valley Water with your tenants’ details to help them chase up any water bill arrears.
From 23rd November:
- Mandatory registration for all landlords & licensing for all property mangers began via Rent Smart Wales (https://www.rentsmart.gov.wales/en/ ) – with one year to comply.
By 23rd November:
- All landlords must be registered and all property managers licensed, or face fines.
From 1st December:
- Tenants signing a new lease must be provided with the property’s electrical safety certificate.
Date to be confirmed:
- Letting agents are likely to be regulated this year and will have to be registered, or face prosecution.
- A new Tribunal system is likely to start, to handle complaints about agents from landlords and tenants.
By 1st December:
- All tenants must have been provided with an electrical safety certificate.
From 21st March:
- New Buy to Let borrowing restrictions are to be imposed on consumer landlords, as part of the European Mortgage Credit Directive. It is likely that a higher ‘rental income to mortgage repayment’ ratio will be introduced – possibly 135% or higher - and landlords will require a larger deposit.
Did you enjoy this content? If so, make sure you sign up to receive our monthly landlord newsletter here.