Posted On / 01.04.2020

Landlord and Tenant - New legislation for 2020

Before the pandemic that is the Coronavirus descended on the United Kingdom, the top of the vital information for residential landlords was the enactment of the following which will affect most tenancies.  It is still very important that landlords comply to avoid associated penalties.  Get everything in order and it will be plain sailing!

Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018

From 20th March 2020, all residential tenancies will be affected by this even those which were in existence before 20th March 2019.

Tenants will have the right to bring claims against landlords for the presence of hazards in the property such as where the property is in a state of disrepair, the building is unstable, where there is damp, not enough natural light or ventilation, where there is a problem with the water supply and drainage and where there is insufficient food preparation facilities to name but a few.   The Local Authority will still be able to take enforcement action.

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (EPCs)

From 1st April 2020, landlords will not be able to rent out their property if the EPC rating is below an E unless the property is exempt.  This affects all tenancies even those that have been existence for a long time and prior to 1st April 2018.

Exemptions include the cost of carrying out the improvements being in excess of £3,500, permission being needed from a third party and it has not been given, to carry out the works would devalue the property by more than 5%, to carry out the works would damage the property.  Expert evidence is needed if relying on the exemptions and the property must be registered on the PRS exemptions register.  

Tenant Fees Act 2019

No prohibited fees may be charged to tenants of all existing residential tenancies and licences as well as new ones from 1st June 2020.  The only permitted payments are: rent, a deposit of no more than 5 weeks’ rent, default payments (3% above the base rate), utilities, Council Tax and TV licence, a small fee for variation of the agreement and a small charge for loss of keys (up to £50).  Everything else is prohibited.

The deposit can be no more than 5 weeks (except if more than this was taken before 1st June 2019 and no renewal or replacement tenancy has been granted).

Electrical Safety Inspections

From 1st July 2020, new tenancies and existing fixed term tenancies that become statutory periodic are affected.  This will be rolled out to all tenancies from 1st April 2021.  Landlords must ensure that their electrical installations comply with the 2018 edition of the IEEE wiring regulations.  There was a substantial update in this edition so installations before 2018 are unlikely to comply.

Landlords will have to provide tenants with a copy of the inspection report before they occupy the property and to any prospective tenant who asks for it.

HMOs

Many local authorities are applying to extend their licensing in relation to the above by way of selective or additional licensing.  Make sure your multiple occupation property does not change.  Failure to have a licence when you should could result in a hefty fine.  

For more information about any of the above items, please contact Jacqui Swann on 01935 846254 jacqui.swann@battens.co.uk We are able to offer telephone and videoconference meetings to take instructions regarding any legal matter.

View our landlord and tenant services here.

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