Landlords: What to be aware of this year.
With 2021 proving to be a busy year for legal updates, we thought it would be useful to compile a list of the key changes and dates landlords should be aware of.
Changes to eviction legislation
Temporary rules on eviction were established due the implications of Covid-19. These rules extended the notice period for eviction to 6 months, save in extreme circumstances- such as proven anti-social behaviour or fraud. Although it may be extended, the rule applies until 31st March 2021.
Electrical compliance deadline
An electrical safety compliance certificate will be required for all of a landlord’s privately rented properties under the new Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. This is to prove that electrical installations have been tested by a qualified electrician to ensure the safety of those living in the property. These installations will need to be tested every 5 years and copies must be provided to tenants. Read our guidance on the new Electrical safety requirements.
Since 1st July 2020, new tenancies have been subject to the new rules. For existing tenancy agreements, the deadline to ensure compliance is 1st April 2021.
Abolition of Section 21
Section 21 of the Housing Act 1998 allows a landlord to regain possession of a property currently occupied by tenants under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy by giving two months notice.
In late 2019, the government considered the abolition of section 21 to prevent landlords ending ‘rolling’ tenancies, for no explicit reason, with 2 months’ notice. The Renters’ Reform Bill has been delayed due to Covid-19 but it is likely we may hear more about the future of section 21 notices sometime this year.
Change to right to rent
Currently, landlords must check a potential tenant’s passport or photo identification card to ensure that they can legally live and rent in the UK. However, following Brexit, it is unclear how the right to rent will operate. We know the current system will remain in place as an interim measure until 30th June 2021 but you should keep an eye on the law in this area. Read our guidance on the new right to rent checks.
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Changes to planning regulations
To ensure quality of living, minimum space and light requirements have been planned by the government. Permitted development rights (PDR) allows developers to convert and renovate existing buildings without the need for full planning permission. If you are considering doing any work on your properties it would be wise to track these changes in the law.
Amendment to Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016
A suggested to the Renting Homes Act in Wales may provide tenants 12 months’ eviction protection at the start of a tenancy, so long as they are not in breach of their tenancy agreement. The bill also suggested: an extension of the minimum notice period; an obligation to install functioning smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and; gas and electricity safety certificates for each property.
End of payment holidays
Tenants struggling to pay rent due to Coronavirus can apply for a payment holiday. It is believed that this will be suspended by the 31st March 2021.
In the space of a couple months, that is an awful lot to keep on top of. Legislate provides fair and robust tenancy agreements that are up to date with changes in the law, having been reviewed by a legal professional. Users on Legislate are invited to create and negotiate contracts on their own terms whilst being confident that their agreements are sensible and up to date.
The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.