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  • Legal FAQs

    New legislation comes into effect TODAY - Smoke alarms and Section 21

    New legislation comes into affect today that all landlords and letting agents need to be aware of.

    Smoke alarms

    Duties of relevant landlord in relation to prescribed alarms

    4.—(1) A relevant landlord in respect of a specified tenancy must ensure that—

    (a) during any period beginning on or after 1st October 2015 when the premises are
    occupied under the tenancy—

    (i) a smoke alarm is equipped on each storey of the premises on which there is a room
    used wholly or partly as living accommodation;

    (ii) a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room of the premises which is used
    wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel burning
    combustion appliance; and

    (b) checks are made by or on behalf of the landlord to ensure that each prescribed alarm is in proper working order on the day the tenancy begins if it is a new tenancy.

    Download the full legislation document

    Section 21

    The new form of s21 notice only applies to tenancies which are new or are renewed after 1 October 2015. It will not apply to statutory periodic tenancies which follow on from tenancies started before this date.

    Download the new Section 21 notice

    For a section 21 notice to be validly served the tenant must have at some prior stage received:

    A valid EPC
    A current landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate
    The Government How to Rent Guide

    Timing: A Section 21 Notice cannot validly be served in the first four months of a tenancy

    Expiry: If proceedings are not issued within 6 months of the service of a Section 21 Notice, then the notice will be invalid.

    VIDEO: 5 instances where landlords cannot serve a Section 21 notice:






    There is a good summary of the changes >>> here.

    [Image: house.png]Related content:

    Important news for landlords about changes to Section 21 notices

    Industry regulation up-date - September 2015

    Industry regulation up-date - August 2015
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    Press release from our colleagues at Landlord Action:

    Retaliation Eviction – Can the Councils Cope?

    Today [Thursday 1st October], as part of The Deregulation Act 2015, a whole range of changes come into force which affect whether or not a landlord can serve a Section 21 notice on an assured shorthold tenancy (in England) as well as changes to the form itself.

    However, following lengthy consultation, leading tenant eviction firm, Landlord Action, has raised concerns that not enough has been done to inform landlords of the changes and questions whether the Government has enough resources in place to properly enforce measures against so-called ‘retaliation eviction’.

    Just some of the key changes which come into effect for new tenancies entered into from 1st October, include the use of the new prescribed Section 21 notice which combines fixed term and periodic. A section 21 notice can no longer be served in the first four months of a tenancy and a section 21 notice will now have a 6 month life span.

    Despite recognising that the changes are in response to the ever growing private rental sector and a need for best practice, Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action has expressed several concerns over the changes, commenting:

    “There have been a lot of significant changes in a short amount of time and I would like to have seen the Government proportion a greater budget to educating landlords, particularly those that don’t use agents to manage their properties, to ensure they are up to speed with new legislation. We still receive calls to our advice line on a weekly basis from landlords who don’t know about the deposit scheme which came into effect 8 years ago.”

    Less than twelve months ago, Paul Shamplina sat before The All Party Parliamentary Group for the Private Rented Sector at the Houses of Parliament arguing against a law on retaliation eviction. With just a small minority of rogue landlords guilty of such tactics, Shamplina maintained tenants could abuse the system and use it to remain in properties rent free for longer.

    As part of the Deregulation Act 2015, tenants will now have the first four months of a tenancy to file a complaint to a landlord with regards to issues of disrepair. Shamplina adds “Good landlords will deal with complaints within the given 14 days, but my concern is the level of resource the local authorities have in place to action environmental health officers to carry out inspections when staffing levels have been cut to the bone. Landlords’ circumstances can change and if they need to end their tenancy, but can’t because they are waiting for an inspection or to gain access from the tenant, landlords are going to lose valuable time.”

    If a property is considered in disrepair, landlords are unable to serve a section 21 notice for 6 months from the date an improvement notice is served by the council.

    “I think this could lead to a huge spike in complaints from tenants. I am a bit fed up of all the frequent landlord bashing. It is about time there were more positive statements for landlords in the Private Rented Sector which now stands at approximately 19% of the housing market” concludes Paul.
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    Are we certain the Smoke Alarm legislation is in and active?

    Environmental Health Officer was informing me the other day that it did not get past the Lords. I thought it had gone through fine.
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    (01-10-2015 11:00 AM)Adam Hosker Wrote:  Are we certain the Smoke Alarm legislation is in and active?

    Yes Adam, after the issue in the Lords it was eventually passed on the 21st September.

    (01-10-2015 12:06 PM)Ignatius Lord Wrote:  so basically if you cannot serve a section 21 within the first 4 months. A tenant could legally rent my house for 4 months for free. AND ONLY THEN could I issue the section 21 which (with court proceedings) takes another 6 months to get them out.

    Well, previously whilst you could serve a s.21 earlier a possession order could not take effect during the first 6 months (still the case).

    Which just goes to show that this new restriction is useless apart from potentially tripping up landlords.
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    so basically if you cannot serve a section 21 within the first 4 months. A tenant could legally rent my house for 4 months for free. AND ONLY THEN could I issue the section 21 which (with court proceedings) takes another 6 months to get them out.

    Meaning all tenants are entitled to 9 months free rent basically. How generous.

    In fact...
    I might do this myself!

    I could just live rent free for most of the year then go somewhere else after every 9 months, look out landlords, im sure im not the only one whos thought of this.
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    What appliances would count as a solid fuel burning combustion appliance?
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    In fact, I think it should be law for landlords to take the shirt from their back and give it to the tenant. They should also be entitled to my phone and shoes because im a landlord Smile

    Infact, i think if we dont give all tenants a back massage once a week we should be locked up, they have a right to back massages.
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    Hello..... could David possibly clarify what the "new form" is in item 3 of the 5 points he makes on the video; I wasn't sure what he was referring to with this.
    Thanks
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    we must crack down on rogue landlords who do not provide their tenants weekly back massages.
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    @Vance

    Government has provided a new form/template to use to serve a Section 21 notice.

    You can download it here.
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    Hi Vanessa,
    Thanks for clarifying and giving a link tom the new form for S21.... appreciated
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