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17

Jun 2020

Residential Landlord and Tenant Update

Tenant Fees Act 2019

All Landlords should be aware that as from 1st June 2020 the above Act applies to all qualifying tenancies, irrespective of when that tenancy began.  The Act prohibits all payments from a Tenant unless that payment is categorised as a “permitted payment” under the Act, e.g. rent or a security deposit.  Other payments may well be prohibited such as Right to Rent check fees, renewal and exit fees and “administrative charges”.  Landlords need to ensure that neither they nor anyone acting on their behalf are collecting fees that are in breach of the Act because if that is happening then a Landlord will not be able to serve a valid Section 21 Notice until the payment taken in breach of the provisions of the Act has been repaid.  There can also be financial penalties for non-compliance.

Electrical Safety Standards

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on 1st June 2020.  In essence, this requires Landlords to arrange for an inspection and test of all fixed electrical installations at least once every 5 years.  Any work required or recommended by the report must be undertaken within 28 days.

On request a copy of the report must be provided to the Local Authority and a prospective tenant.  If there is a tenant already in occupation of the premises, then he or she must be given a copy of the report within 28 days of the report being produced.

The above regulations apply to new tenancies commencing on or after 1st July 2020.  Please note the regulations will apply to all tenancies from 1st April 2021. 

Breaches of the regulations can result in financial penalties of up to £30,000.

The Government has issued guidance on the regulations which, among other things, indicates that a landlord would not be in breach of the duty under the Act if it can show it has taken all reasonable steps to comply with a remedial notice.

Accelerated Possession Claims

A new claim form for Accelerated Possession Claims came into use in April.  This form is significantly longer than the form it replaces and requires the landlord to provide copies of Gas Safety Certificates, Energy Performance Certificates and the “How to Rent” booklet given to a tenant at the start of a tenancy.  The obligations on landlords regarding these documents have been in place for some time, but whereas the old court form required landlords only to confirm that documents had been given to a tenant, it now requires copies of those documents to be attached to the claim form and in addition copies of the Gas Safety Certificates that have been obtained during the course or the tenancy and given to the tenant.

Landlords will need to ensure that they are keeping comprehensive records of these documents throughout the tenancy in case they are needed for an Accelerated Possession Claim.

For more information please contact Landlord and Tenant specialist, Andrew Raby - Andrew.raby@thackraywilliams.com or 01732 496450

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