Landlords warned as raft of new housing legislation comes into force

Thursday, October 1st, 2015 -

Private landlords are being warned that they need to be ready for a raft of new housing legislation than came into force today (1 October 2015).

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

It is now a legal requirement for every private rented home in England to be fitted with smoke and carbon monoxide alarms under the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.

The requirement is to install at least one smoke alarm on every storey of the rental property on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation.

If there is a solid fuel burning combustion appliance such as a coal fire or wood burning stove, a carbon monoxide alarm must be fitted in that room.

There is also a requirement for the landlord to ensure that the alarms are in good working order on the first day of any new tenancy starting on or after 1 October 2015.

Landlords who fail to comply could be served with a remedial notice and if they fail to comply with the remedial notice, they could result a penalty of up to £5,000.

London Property Licensing has prepared a briefing on the new smoke and carbon monoxide alarm requirements that you can read here.

Retaliatory Eviction

New laws also come into force today to prevent landlords evicting their tenants if they complain to the council about the condition of the property.

Landlords will be unable to serve a Section 21 notice of seeking possession within six months of the council serving an Improvement Notice or Emergency Remedial Act Notice under the Housing Act 2004.

Even if the notice of seeking possession is served before the council serves such a notice, if could still be invalid if the landlord has failed to respond adequately to earlier tenant complaints on the same issue.

Requirement to provide certain documents

Further changes introduced today mean that a Section 21 notice of seeking possession cannot be used unless the landlord has provided the tenant with copies of:

  • The energy performance certificate;
  • The gas safety certificate; and
  • The current DCLG booklet ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England’.

These changes, and the requirement to use a new prescribed Section 21 form, only apply to new tenancies created on or after 1 October 2015.

London Property Licensing has prepared a briefing on the section 21 notice of seeking possession changes that you can read here.

Property licensing expanding further across London

Coinciding with this new legislation, the London Borough of Croydon has introduced a borough-wide selective licensing scheme. The scheme, which comes into force today (1 October), extends licensing to an estimated 30,000 private rented properties in the borough.

Commenting on the changes, Richard Tacagni, Managing Director of London Property Licensing said:

This increasing regulatory burden will be a real challenge for part time landlords who struggle to keep abreast of the changing legislation. Yet if they get things wrong, landlords could face a significant penalty and be unable to recover their property at the end of the tenancy.

With an estimated 350,000 landlords operating in London, I suspect many landlords are still unaware of these changes. This demonstrates why a free information resources, such as the London Property Licensing website, is so important“.