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Legal Update for Landlords

Experienced property lawyer and Sweeney Miller’s Managing Partner, Surbhi Vedhara provides an overview of some of the latest regulatory requirements for landlords, summarised below.

Renters Reform Bill

A white paper published in June 2022 sets out the Government’s plans to improve the rights and conditions for millions of renters. This new blueprint for reform aims to end the injustice of unfit homes and protect renters from rising cost of living, including:

  • A ban of Section 21 ‘no fault evictions’. A tenancy will only end if a tenant ends it or a landlord has a valid reason, defined in law.
  • A single system of periodic tenancies, so tenants can leave poor quality housing without remaining liable for the rent or move more easily when their circumstances change.
  • An end to arbitrary rent review clauses, giving tenants stronger powers to challenge poor practice, unjustified rent increases and enable them to be repaid rent for non-decent homes.
  • It will be Illegal for landlords or agents to have blanket bans on renting to families with children or those in receipt of benefits.
  • It will be easier for tenants to share their homes with much-loved pets.
  • The introduction of a new Private Renters Ombudsman Service and a new portal to help landlords understand and comply with their responsibilities.
  • Greater enforcement powers for Councils.

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove has said that the Renters’ Reform Bill will be brought forward in this parliamentary session and is therefore likely to be debated and voted on before the end of this year.

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

As part of the Minimum Energy Performance of Buildings (No. 2) Bill, it will become compulsory for all new rented properties in England & Wales to have an EPC rating of ‘C’ by 2025 to meet the Government’s Net Zero target. In addition, under the Bill, existing tenancies will need to meet a minimum rating of ‘C’ by 2028.

Property owners and landlords are understandably concerned at the significant expenditure that is likely to be needed to bring properties up to the EPC band C and in turn the impact this may have on the supply of rented accommodation.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations (England) Regulations 2015

Currently, a carbon monoxide alarm is only needed in properties where there is a solid fuel burning appliance, such as log burners.  However, from 1st October 2022, the regulations are being updated which mean that a carbon monoxide alarm will be required in all rooms where there is a fixed combustion appliance, such as a gas boiler or gas fire. Gas cookers are excluded from the updated regulations. In addition, landlords will be expected to repair or replace alarms once informed that they are faulty but testing during the tenancy will be the Tenant’s responsibility.

Please note that this information is for general guidance only. If you have any specific queries regarding landlord and tenant matters, then please get in touch with Surbhi on 0345 900 5401 or email surbhi@sweeneymiller.co.uk.

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