There have been a number of key changes today which will affect all landlords and agents in the private rented sector. Some of these changes affect all tenancies while others only affect tenancies which are new from today.

All tenancies

As from today, 1 October 2015, all tenants must have a battery operated smoke detector on every floor of their property and a Carbon Monoxide detector in any room with a solid fuel heating appliance. This includes any open fireplace that is available for use (ie not blocked off). These must be in place for all tenancies from today and for any new tenancy they must be tested to make sure they work at the start of the tenancy.

If you have not done this then the local authority can inspect the property and serve a remedial notice giving the landlord 28 days to fit the required alarms. If this is not complied with then the local authority can levy a penalty of up to £5,000.

Fire services have been given money to assist landlords with complying with this duty and many are now giving out free smoke and CO detectors to landlords and will even fit them for you so it is worth getting in touch.

You can find out more about the smoke detector regulations here.

New tenancies

Any new tenancy from today (but not statutory periodic tenancies based on pre-existing tenancies) will be captured by the changes made under the Deregulation Act 2015. This means:

  • You cannot serve any s21 notice during the first four months of the tenancy;
  • You must serve on the tenant the:
    • EPC,
    • Landlord’s gas Safety Certificate, and
    • The How to Rent Guide that is extant at the start of the tenancy;
  • If the local authority issues an Improvement Notice or carries out Emergency Remedial Works under the HHSRS you cannot serve an s21 notice for the next six months;
  • If the tenant makes a written complaint about condition you must respond in writing within the next 14 days specifying what you intend to do and the time scale for doing so;
  • You must use the new standard form of section 21 notice;
  • The section 21 notice is now a use it or lose it notice and cannot be used 6 months after being served.

You can find out more about these changes here.

The How to Rent Guide is updated as of today and can be sent by email.

If you need a new style section 21 notice, the final version was only published two days ago after corrections, then it is available in PDF format here.

Agents

Agents are from today bound by the new EU ADR directive which will require changes to terms of business and websites. You can find out more about this here 

You should note that these are not the only changes happening in the private rented sector. Right to Rent will soon be rolled out nationally and landlords and agents should be aware of these changes.