Landlords responsibilities for residential tenancies

CLA Senior Legal Adviser Harry Flanagan highlights legal developments relating to residential tenancies and reminds English landlords of their key responsibilities.

More and more people are renting their homes and, in rural areas, many CLA members are providing much needed rented accommodation. The growth of the private rented sector (PRS) has attracted considerable media and Government attention over recent years and with it has come increased regulation.

HAVE YOU GIVEN THE TENANT ALL THAT YOU NEED TO?

Most landlords grant ASTs as, in theory, they can simply serve notice to get the property back once any fixed term of the tenancy has expired. However, life is no longer quite as straightforward as it once was. Since the Deregulation Act 2015, landlords must comply with new rules if they want to be able to use the “no fault” section 21 procedure for regaining possession of the property.

It is now a legal requirement that, where relevant to the property, all new AST tenants are served with:

  • an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
  • a current Gas Safety Certificate
  • an up to date version of the Government booklet ‘How to Rent: The Checklist for Renting in England’. To access this go to www.gov.uk and search for “how to rent”

These are not all new requirements in themselves but it is now imperative that records are kept as evidence of service of these documents in order to preserve the right to serve a section 21 notice.

HAVE YOU PROTECTED THE TENANCY DEPOSITS?

It has been a requirement since 2007 for AST landlords to deal with any deposit taken in accordance with one of the government approved tenancy deposit schemes and to serve the requisite “prescribed information” on the tenant within 30 days of receiving the deposit. Further information is available here: www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection/overview 

Landlords who fail to comply will be liable to pay a penalty of between one and three times the value of the deposit and will be barred from using the section 21 repossession route.

Tenancy deposits have had a troubled history but most wrinkles have now been ironed out by the Deregulation Act (at the suggestion of the CLA) but if there are historical concerns about liability do contact the CLA legal department for further advice.

For more information, contact our advisers.

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