As of 1 October 2015 two sets of regulations come into effect imposing additional requirements on landlords of residential properties. The regulations deal with smoke alarms, the information to be given to tenants at the start of a tenancy and the all-important “section 21 notice”.
The first set of regulations require private rented sector landlords to provide the following documents to those tenants entering into a new assured shorthold tenancy on or after 1 October:
- an energy performance certificate, to be given to the tenant free of charge;
- a copy of the gas safety certificate for the property; and
- a copy of the latest version of the “How to Rent Guide: the checklist for renting in England”as published by the Department for Communities and Local Government, which can be sent by email.
Failure to provide these documents will prevent a landlord from terminating an AST under the “no fault” procedure.
These same regulations also introduce a new prescribed form for the notice that a landlord must serve on a tenant when requiring possession of the property back from the tenant under sections 21(1) or (4) of the Housing Act 1988. This notice is commonly referred to as a “section 21 notice” and is used to recover possession of a residential property let under an AST under the “no fault” procedure. In particular, the new form, form 6A, cannot be served until the tenant has been in the property for at least four months.
The second set of regulations coming into effect on 1 October 2015 introduce new legal requirements for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. The regulations require all private rented properties (let on both new and existing tenancies) to have:
- at least one smoke alarm fitted on every storey of the property used as living accommodation (including bathrooms, spare bedrooms and living rooms); and
- carbon monoxide alarms in rooms used as living accommodation where solid fuel burning devices are used.
Landlords are to ensure that the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy. A landlord’s failure to comply with the regulations could result in a fine of £5000.
Despite the last minute nature with which this new law has been introduced, and the lack of an effective communications campaign to alert landlords of the new requirements, both sets of regulations have come into effect today, 1 October 2015. All private rented sector landlords are required to comply with the regulations or face the draconian consequences.