So far in 2020 there have been some significant legislation changes affecting Landlords, Tenants and Letting Agents. The most recent being the emergency Coronavirus Bill with its complete ban on evictions and additional protection for tenants and landlords.
The government announced a radical package of measures to protect renters and landlords affected by coronavirus. As a result, no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home during this difficult time.
Emergency legislation will result in Landlords not being able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a 3 month period. As a result of these measures, no renters in private or social accommodation needs to be concerned about the threat of eviction.
Recognising the additional pressures the virus may put on landlords, the 3 month mortgage payment holiday has been extended to landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to coronavirus. This will alleviate the pressure on landlords, who will be concerned about meeting mortgage payments themselves, and will mean no unnecessary pressure is put on their tenants as a result.
At the end of this period, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances.
Over the weekend of 28 and 29 March 2020, the UK Government released non-statutory guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities in the private rented sector following the outbreak of Coronavirus.
GAS AND ELECTRICAL CHECKS
- Landlords should make every effort to follow existing gas safety regulations and the electrical safety regulations which come into force on 1 July. Both regulations allow for situations where a landlord cannot carry out their obligations and they must demonstrate they have taken all reasonable steps to comply with the law. The issue is outlined on page 19 of the guidance.
- Landlords must also provide tenants with all necessary gas and electrical safety and any other relevant certification documents at the beginning of a tenancy (and carry out all scheduled inspections and tests where required). Where inspections have already been carried out, documents can be provided by post or in some circumstances it may be possible to provide digital copies.
The guidance says that in relation to the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector Regulations 2020, if a landlord can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply with the regulations, they are not in breach. This includes duty to comply with a remedial notice.
A landlord could show reasonable steps by keeping copies of all communications they have had with their tenants and with electricians as they tried to arrange the work, including any replies they have had. Landlords may also want to provide other evidence they have that the installation, appliance or flue is in a good condition while they attempt to arrange works.
The Government is encouraging local authorities and other enforcement agencies to take a pragmatic, common-sense approach to enforcement in these unprecedented times.
ACCESS TO PROPERTY
Where agents are unable to gain access to a property due to restrictions in place to tackle Coronavirus or are not able to engage a contractor to carry out the necessary work, the Government recommend agents document their attempts to do so and all correspondence with their tenants.
The guidance also covers the new measures relating to notices seeking possession as amended by the Coronavirus Act 2020 and court action on possession cases during the Coronavirus outbreak.
The guidance is advisory, and all guidance is subject to frequent updates and should be checked regularly.
Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations
The Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations set a minimum energy efficiency level for domestic private rented properties.
The Regulations apply to all domestic private rented properties that are:
- let on specific types of tenancy agreement
- legally required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
When you need to take action to improve your property to EPC E
If you are letting or planning to let a property covered by the MEES Regulations, and with a rating of EPC F or G, there are 2 dates:
- 1 April 2018
- 1 April 2020
Answer these questions to find out whether your property is covered by the Regulations
1. Is your property let on one of the following types of domestic tenancies:
- an assured tenancy?
- a regulated tenancy?
- a domestic agricultural tenancy?
2. Is your property legally required to have an EPC?
If the property you let has been marketed for sale or let, or modified, in the past 10 years then it will probably be legally required to have an EPC.
If you answered Yes to both these questions, and your property has an rating of F or G, you must take appropriate steps to comply with the requirements of the MEES Regulations. We explain how to do this below.
If you answered No to one or both of these questions, your property is not covered by the Regulations, and you don’t need to take action to improve the property rating. You may let it with an EPC rating of F or G
These headlines are just a few of the new legislations that have come into force recently. If you are Landlord or Tenant and have any questions contact our lettings team today for further help and guidance.
- Extension of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act
- Significant Changes to Capital Gains Tax changes, in April
- Extension of the Tenant Fees Act, in June
Contact us today at www.pygott-crone.com/lettings