Forthcoming Changes to the PRS
By |Published On: 19th August 2015|

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Forthcoming Changes to the PRS

By |Published On: 19th August 2015|

This article is an external press release originally published on the Landlord News website, which has now been migrated to the Just Landlords blog.

The private rental sector in England is experiencing great change at present and landlords must be aware of all of their responsibilities.

The following measures are due to be implemented in the lettings industry imminently. Ensure you understand your duties.

  1. Section 21 changes

Section 21 notices will be soon be changing. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Anti-retaliatory eviction measures – These will restrict a landlord’s ability to serve a valid section 21 notice if the tenant has complained about the condition of the rental property and if the local authority has already served an improvement or similar notice to the landlord.

Property lawyer, Tessa Shepperson, comments: “This measure should not affect landlords who respond promptly to tenants and who keep properties in good condition. Local authority EHOs [Environmental Health Officers] are mostly overworked and do not have enough staff to deal properly with their case load, so are not going to want to waste resources on anything other than clear cases of bad practice.”

  • A new section 21 notice – Shepperson explains: “I have seen a draft of this, but no doubt it will be amended before the final version is released. This is really good news for landlords, as most of the problems in the past with section 21 evictions have been about the correct drafting of the notice.”
  • Forthcoming Changes to the PRS

    Forthcoming Changes to the PRS

    Additional preconditions for serving a section 21 notice – Currently, these requirements are compliance with tenancy deposit rules and having a license on a licensable House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). The new conditions are: Installing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and serving the tenant a gas safety certificate, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and a copy of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s How to Rent guide.

  • Time limits – Landlords will not be able to serve a section 21 notice within the first four months of a tenancy and will not be able to issue proceedings regarding a notice more than six months after it was served.

The new section 21 measures are set to be implemented on 1st October 2015, but the preconditions and time limits will only apply to new tenancies created after this date.

  1. New health and safety rules

Landlords are required to fit smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Local fire and rescue services have been given free alarms to offer to landlords, so it is worthwhile speaking to your local service.

  1. Right to rent checks

The right to rent checks were included in the Immigration Act 2014 and have been piloted in the West Midlands over the last six months.

It is believed that they will be rolled out nationwide, “as fast as the Government can manage it.” Shepperson adds: “New measures are also being planned for a new immigration act, which will involve harsher penalties for landlords who fail to carry out the checks, including imprisonment, and also the power to evict tenants without getting a court order first.”

  1. HMO licensing

“The Government has indicated that it is going to revisit mandatory licensing and widen the definition so more properties will come within it,” states Shepperson. “So if you manage a property that is an HMO but not a licensable one, this may change in the not too distant future.”1

  1. Penalties for rogue landlords

The Government has suggested that it will crack down on rogue landlords by introducing new penalties. The best thing to do to avoid these penalties is to act within the law and follow our advice.


About the Author: Em Morley (she/they)

Em is the Content Marketing Manager for Just Landlords, with over five years of experience writing for insurance and property websites. Together with the knowledge and expertise of the Just Landlords underwriting team, Em aims to provide those in the property industry with helpful resources. When she’s not at her computer researching and writing property and insurance guides, you’ll find her exploring the British countryside, searching for geocaches.

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