If you are the landlord of any kind of property – whether that’s a single home, a whole portfolio of let properties, a block of flats, or a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) – you know only too well that there is already a whole raft of legislation with which you must comply, on pain of financial penalties or worse.
Our recent news report suggested that the weight of legislation is already driving many buy to let landlords out of the market.
What is more, that body of legislation is growing and subject to amendment all of the time. Since that often makes it difficult for the landlord to keep abreast of legislative changes, here are our top six recent or soon-to-be changes that landlords need to be aware of:
- How to Rent
- this official guide book is already a requirement for you to hand to any new tenant when they move in;
- a new and updated version was published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government on the 9th of July 2018 and it is this version which must be handed to any new tenant you take on with effect from the 26th of June 2018 onwards;
- Gas safety regulations
- landlords have long been responsible for obtaining an annual gas safety certificate issued by a registered Gas Safe engineer.
- changes brought into effect on the 6th of April 2018 now give landlords a little more flexibility in scheduling the timing of such inspections – up to 2 months before the expiry of the current certificate.
- Banning Orders
- local authorities were given swingeing new powers to apply to the courts for a banning order against a landlord or letting agent who commits an offence related to illegal eviction, harassment of tenants, failure to comply with a Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) notice, mismanagement of an HMO, breaches of fire regulations, drug offences and others.
- the Landlords Guild points out that the powers were extended to local authorities on the 6th of April 2018 – so you might expect to see more them applied to rogue landlords in your area.
- Deregulation Act 2015
- although these provisions were enacted and came into effect for all new tenancies and renewals as long ago as 2015, with effect from the 1st of October 2018, they apply to all tenancies.
- Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
- with effect from the 1st of October any HMO accommodating more than 5 tenants, irrespective of how many storeys it is, must be licensed by the local authority.
- regulations on minimum bedroom sizes also come into effect on that date.
- Client money protection insurance
- regulations have been drafted – for scheduled implementation with effect from the 1st of April 2019 – requiring letting agents to arrange insurance protection for any clients’ money they are holding.
If you thought that your buy to let business was already constrained by a mass of legislation, look out for still further laws and regulations either coming into effect or in the offing this year or next.