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The Housing Deregulation Act 2015

Tuesday, 3rd November 2015

Categories: Lettings Property Management

Author: Charlotte Delph

Tenants who are renting properties on a short-hold tenancy agreement were given greater protection earlier this year when the Deregulation Act was passed. Many of the changes relate to the Section 21 notice and its validity. Previously, landlords were able to issue a Section 21 notice at the same time as a tenant signed their contract. This notice allowed landlords to remove tenants from properties without giving a reason for doing so. If tenants refused to move out having received written notice, the landlord would then obtain a court order before a bailiff evicted the tenant.

All change

After 1 October however, landlords are required to wait four months after renewing a tenancy, or completing a new agreement, before they can issue a Section 21 notice. As at least two months’ notice is required, this means that landlords cannot now retake possession of a property before the end of the contract.

Landlords must also ensure they strictly adhere to tenancy deposit regulations, as any breach – such as the deposit not being protected in a government-approved scheme – will result in the Section 21 notice being invalid.

Damage limitation

The new regulations also protect tenants against incidences of landlords failing to make good essential repairs, and issuing tenants with a Section 21 notice after a complaint is received. If a tenant makes a complaint in writing and subsequently reports the landlord’s failure to action the complaint to the council, the council can then serve the landlord with a notice. In this instance, the landlord cannot issue a Section 21 notice within 6 months of being served notice from the council, but instead must complete the repairs to the property.

EPC certificate

The Deregulation Act also stipulates that prospective tenants must be provided with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – this means when they are first looking at the property and not once they have moved in. If a landlord fails to provide this, any subsequent Section 21 notice could be invalid.

Tenants will no doubt welcome these changes and should feel a greater level of protection in the permanency of their homes as a result. However, it is vital that landlords understand and instigate all the changes to the law. However scrupulous they might be, they must take care to follow all protocol for their own, and their tenants, benefit.

At Peter Barry we fully comply on behalf of our Landlord clients with the requirements of the Deregulation Act. As agents, we act on behalf of Landlord clients but clearly the best interests of both Landlord and Tenant are served by a clear and transparent process in regards to the setting up, running of and, ultimately, the termination of a tenancy.