READ THIS FIRST!
‘Important advice for tenants and lodgers on finding the right accommodation and for Landlords on how to provide it’.
For tenants, renting any property can be a big commitment and it’s important to have some good basic pointers at your disposal before you start.
Read This First contains the latest updates including valuable information on both landlord and tenants rights, private renting in general, welfare reform and changes to the benefits system, tenancy deposit schemes, finances including illegal money lending, crime and fire safety advice, plus much
Renting any property can be a big commitment and it’s important to have some good basic pointers at your disposal before you start.
The main guide for ‘Read This First’ contains legal, important and useful information on:
- Tenants and landlord responsibilities,
- Tenancy Deposit Schemes,
- Landlord Accreditation schemes,
- Energy efficiency,
- Help with finances and benefit advice,
- Harassment, illegal eviction and anti social behaviour advice,
- Legal requirements in relation to fire safety,
- General advice on fire safety in your home,
- Crime and security advice.
To accompany Read This First is the Check Before You Rent – a checklist fro you to use when before you view a property, during viewing a property and if you choose to rent the property, what to check for before you agree to do so.
You can also download additional Fire and Security checklists.
LEGISLATION UPDATES CONCERNING THE PRIVATE RENTED SECTOR FROM 1 OCTOBER 2015
A number of legislation changes come into force from the 1 October 2015 that you should consider when renting property.
On 1 October 2015 a number of provisions in the Deregulation Act 2015 will come into force. These provisions are designed to protect tenants against unfair eviction. From 1 October, where a tenant makes a genuine complaint about the condition of their property that has not been addressed by their landlord, their complaint has been verified by a local authority inspection, and the local authority has served either an improvement notice or a notice of emergency remedial action, a landlord cannot evict that tenant for 6 months. The landlord is also required to ensure that the repairs are completed.
Other changes to evictions
The Deregulation Act 2015 also makes it more straightforward for landlords to evict a tenant where they are allowed to do so. Landlords can face unnecessary costs when going to court to seek possession of their property, where the case is thrown out of court on a technical error in the notice (for example, specifying an incorrect date). We have introduced a new form that landlords must use when they are relying on a ‘no fault’ eviction (a section 21 eviction) which will help to reduce this, and to save time and inconvenience for landlords, helping them to get their property back as soon as possible. This form must be used for tenancies entered into on or after 1 October, and we encourage its use for tenancies entered into before that date as well in order to reduce the capacity for error. The form is contained in The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 No. 1725.
There are some additional new rules, particularly around the information which must be provided to tenants before landlords can serve the new section 21 form. Further information can be found by searching GOV.uk
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 have been approved by Parliament and will come into force on 1 October 2015. These will require private sector landlords to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties, and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove etc). After that, the landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.
The regulations aim to reduce the risk of injury or death to tenants caused by fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. An explanatory booklet for local authorities, giving further details and helping to prepare for enforcement, is available HERE.
‘How to Rent’ Guide
The ‘How to Rent’ guide is a short, user-friendly booklet that details the key rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants. The Model Tenancy Agreement has been produced for the benefit of landlords and tenants and includes clauses that encourage longer, more family friendly tenancies. Further information can be found by searching GOV.uk
RIGHT TO RENT BECOMES LAW ACROSS ENGLAND FROM 1 FEBRUARY 2016
From 1 February 2016, Right to Rent goes live across England. This means all private landlords, including anyone subletting or taking in lodgers, need to carry out quick and simple checks on all new tenants to make sure they have the right to rent property in the country.
The roll out of Right to Rent has been informed by input from a panel of experts from trade bodies, local authorities, housing charities and the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and backed up by stakeholder events with landlords and agents.
Landlords need to check identity documents for all new tenants and take copies. A wide range of documents can be used for the checks, and the Government has worked closely with housing and homelessness charities to design a document list which can accommodate different individual circumstances. This includes where people do not have traditional identity documents such as a passport.
There are resources available to help landlords comply with the new rules, including an online checking tool which landlords can use to guide them through the process and to request a check on anyone who has an outstanding case with the Home Office.
For more information about making the checks go to www.gov.uk/righttorentchecks.