Letting a residential property – have you addressed the changes?
Since October 1st this year, all residential landlords letting properties have been required to comply with the requirements detailed below.
When letting out a residential property, the tenancy will automatically be an assured shorthold tenancy —unless you agree otherwise in writing.
This means the landlord has the right to:
- Get the property back after six months
- Charge a market rent
- Get the property back during the initial six months if the tenant doesn’t pay the rent — but there must be at least eight weeks owing.
If the landlord wants to ensure they can regain possession of the property smoothly from the tenant, they need to get things right from the start.
- There will need to be a written tenancy agreement. If the tenancy is informal, this can cause problems.
- If the tenant paid a deposit on or after April 6th 2007, the deposit must be protected in a tenancy deposit scheme.
- The landlord must provide the tenant with an Energy Performance Certificate, Gas Safety Certificate and the current
version of the government booklet ‘How to Rent’. The government booklet must be provided in hard copy unless the
tenant agrees to receive a copy by email.
Since October 1st, these requirements have applied to all assured shorthold tenancies, not just new tenancies or renewals.
If the landlord fails to comply with these requirements, they will not be able to serve a two-month Section 21 Notice requiring possession of the property — and will only be able to get the property back if the tenant breaches the terms of the tenancy, for example by not paying their rent.
Landlords also need to be aware of their responsibilities in relation to data protection, as a result of the new General Data
Protection Regulations. This involves safeguarding tenant’s data, making sure they only pass it on if they are legally entitled to do so and not retaining it for longer than necessary.
Words by Gemma Cook