What landlords need to know for the 1st of October

17 September 2015

Regulations will come into effect from 1 October in relation to the new Section 21 notice required to recover possession on expiry of a fixed term tenancy in England.   (The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015.

- The regulations introduce new requirements for service of a valid section 21 Notice.
- The Landlord (or managing agent) will need to show that the Energy Performance Certificate and Gas Safe Certificate were given to the Tenant. Without these documents landlords will be unable to use the non-fault Section 21 Notice.

Also at the start of each tenancy (including renewals) landlords (or managing agents)  must serve “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England”. This is available on the website for landlords and agents to download and print off for each tenancy.  Landlords will need to ensure that they can prove the checklist  was given to their tenant.

These additional responsibilities are likely to make issuing accelerated possession proceedings more difficult given the extra burdens of proof however ARAG in common with other LEI providers requires Section 21 notices to be correctly issued before accepting a claim for repossession under the policy. We provide a Section 21 notice for landlord policyholders to download for free from our legal services website.  (See accelerated possession). Family legal Solutions policyholders can also down load a Section 21 notice for £19.99. The new notice will be available from 1st October.

New smoke alarm installation regulations were scheduled to come into force on 1 October, requiring all landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor in their properties but opposition in the House of Lords will delay the start.

- Some free alarms are available from local fire services.
- Where solid fuel heating is used an alarm must be fitted in each room used as living accommodation (including bathrooms). ‘Solid fuel’ means coal or wood, not gas or oil. Although carbon monoxide alarms are recommended for rooms with gas or oil heating, they are not compulsory
- Landlords are responsible for ensuring that the alarms are working at the start of the tenancy. Tenants are responsible for looking after them during the tenancy
- The regulations will not apply to social housing or live-in lodgers and separate but similar rules already apply to HMOs.
- Enforcement is by local authorities who will be empowered to issue a remedial notice requiring the landlord to fit the alarms within 28 days.
- Where a landlord fails to take reasonable steps to install an alarm the local authority can gain access (with the tenant’s permission) to do so and can serve  a penalty on the landlord for up to £5,000.
- Landlords can ask for a penalty notice to be reviewed  and subsequently there is a right of appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal.

Note - ARAG policies do not cover appeal against statutory notices or RPT appeals.

Lesley Attu
Product Development Manager

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