Several new regulations affecting residential landlords came into force on 1 October 2015 including the requirement for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, the provision of prescribed documents and the introduction of a prescribed form of s21 notice.
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
These regulations are intended to reduce the number of injuries or deaths from smoke or carbon monoxide poisoning in the private rented sector.
From 1 October 2015 landlords of residential premises let for a term of less than 7 years, including those let under existing tenancies, will be required to install and maintain:
- A smoke alarm on each floor.
- A carbon monoxide alarm in each room where solid fuel is used (for example a coal fire or log burning stove).
There is no "grace period" for compliance and breach of the Regulations could lead to a civil penalty of up to £5,000.
Landlords should take immediate steps to ensure that all residential properties comply with the Regulations, including those already let, and may wish to ensure that any inventory taken on the grant of a new letting records that the required alarms are in place and in working order.
The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015
These regulations add to the procedural steps that residential landlords must follow in order to be able to end an assured shorthold tenancy and also introduce a new prescribed form of section 21 notice.
From 1 October 2015 landlords wishing to end an AST granted after that date cannot serve a valid section 21 notice unless they have provided the tenant with:
- An Energy Performance Certificate for the premises.
- A copy gas safety certificate for the premises.
- A copy of the DCLG booklet "How to rent: The checklist for renting in England".
The regulations apply to all ASTs created on or after 1 October 2015 (except for periodic tenancies that come into being after 1 October 2015 and which were fixed term ASTs created before 1 October 2015). The new prescribed form of section 21 notice may nevertheless be used for all ASTs.
Landlords should ensure that the prescribed documents are provided, ideally at the time of the grant of the AST, but in any event before service of a section 21 notice and that the new form of notice is used. Failure to comply with the regulations will mean that any section 21 notice served will be invalid and significant further delays in obtaining possession may result.