We thought it would be useful to provide a summary of upcoming legislation in 2018 affecting landlords and agents.
Whilst the burden of legislation is increasing a recent study has detailed that Landlords can still make approx £6000 per year profit from buy-to-let.
It is however quite a busy year coming up but some of the legislation in the pipeline and on this page may not be in force until next year.
The government appears set on increasing the burden on Landlords/Agents and consequently makes keeping track and ensuring compliance for Landlords/Agent more difficult by the day. We will continue to ensure all our fully managed properties remain compliant.
Deregulation Act 2015 – 1 October 2018
The provisions as outlined below that came into effect for England on 1 October 2015 will apply to all tenancies from 1 October 2018 – not just new tenancies or renewals:
- The requirement to have given an EPC in order to serve section 21 notice
- The requirement to have given a gas safety record in order to serve section 21 notice
- Use of new section 21 notice (form 6A)
- No longer need to expire section 21 “after last day of a period”
- Section 21 cannot be served for first four months and can no longer be used from six months after service
- Apportioned rent rules after service of section 21 notice
- Retaliatory eviction provisions
Note that the providing of the How to Rent Guide is excluded from the list and is not required for tenancies before 1 October 2015 unless renewed after.
How to Rent Guide – 17 January 2018 – England only
The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) has published a new How to Rent Checklist for Renting in England commonly referred to as the How to Rent Guide.
This booklet must be provided to all assured shorthold tenants whose tenancy started or was renewed from 17 January 2018 onwards by the Landlord or his Agent.
Minimum Energy Levels Regulations (MEES) – 1 April 2018 – England and Wales
From 1 April 2018, any building which is to be rented on a new tenancy or a renewal must have a minimum energy rating of “E”.
From 1 April 2020, the minimum level “E” applies to all tenancies – including existing.
There are a number of exemptions available and if one of those exemptions apply, the property must be registered on the National PRS Exemptions Register.
Homeless Reduction Act 2017 – 3 April 2018
Homeless reduction act 2017 may provide assistance for landlords and tenants in respect of homelessness applications. Of particular note is a new specific reference to a tenant being threatened with homelessness after a valid section 21 notice has been served.
The Homeless code of guidance for local authority Homelessness code of guidance for local authorities has been published by MHCLG. Chapter 6 and paragraph 6.3 is the relevant section for notices under section 21.
Banning Orders and Rogue Landlord/Agent Database – 6 April 2018 – England Only
From 6 April 2018, a local authority may apply to a tribunal and obtain a banning order against a landlord or agent after they have been convicted of a banning order offence. Banning order offences include: illegally evicting or harassing an occupier, failing to comply with an HHSRS notice, HMO offences, fire offences, drug offences and others.
In addition, a landlord or agent with a banning order must be placed on a national database. A landlord or agent may also be placed on the database if they’ve been convicted of a banning order offence (even without a banning order).
Gas Safety (Installation and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 – 6 April 2018 – England and Wales
The Gas Safety Regulations are being amended and of particular interest is an improvement in flexibility for landlords and agents when obtaining a gas safety record.
Basically, a landlord will be able to have a gas safety record completed up to 2 months before the “deadline date” and the following record will not need to be from 12 months of the last check but instead the deadline date will remain for the following year. This allows landlords to get gas safety records completed up to two months earlier and not be penalised.
More information about this and the other changes being made can also be found on the HSE website.
General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) – 25 May 2018 – England and Wales
From 25 May 2018, significant changes are being made to Data Protection rules.
The changes will require AN audit what information about people you hold, what you do with it and how long it is retained.
Any processing of data based upon consent (e.g. sales and marketing) will significantly change and any consents obtained will need to be granular and opt-in.
Houses in Multiple Occupation and Residential Property Licensing Reforms – 1 October 2018
Any property with 5 or more occupiers and all those occupiers are not related to one another will require an HMO licence irrespective of the number of storeys. Currently, there would need to be 3 storeys in addition to the 5 or more occupiers to require a licence.
Furthermore, draft minimum room size regulations have now been published. The following minimum room sizes in an HMO are likely to be applied in an HMO which requires a mandatory licence:
- a sleeping room for one adult must measure at least 6.51 square metres
- two adults should be no smaller than 10.22 square metres
- rooms for children up to 10 years old must have an area of 4.64 square metres or more.
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability of Housing Standards). – date to be announced – England only
The purpose of the Bill is:
To amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to require that residential rented accommodation is provided and maintained in a state of fitness for human habitation; to amend the Building Act 1984 to make provision about the liability for works on residential accommodation that do not comply with Building Regulations; and for connected purposes.
The Bill has received cross-party support and is now at the committee stage (date to be announced).
5 Yearly Electrical Safety Checks – date to be announced
Provision has been made under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 for electrical safety checks to be carried out at a yet to be specified interval and conducted by yet to be specified, qualified persons.
Currently, it’s a requirement to carry out 5 yearly electrical checks on HMOs but this new legislation would require it on all specified private rented properties.
Banning Orders – date to be announced – England only
Also, a provision under the Housing and Planning Act 2016, banning orders will be introduced for offences committed in England.
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 (Banning Order Offences) Regulations 2017 which define the offences is still in draft form but offences that could result in a banning order include (but not limited to):
- Unlawful eviction and harassment of occupier
- Failing to comply with certain HHSRS notices
- Offences relating to HMO licensing
- Failing to comply with HMO Management Regulations
- Fire safety offences
- Immigration Act offences
- Fraud, theft, burglary, handling stolen goods, drug offences
- Proceeds of crime offences
Ban of Tenant Fees – date to be announced – England only
A Bill has been published and has received support. If brought in IT essentially bans all fees in respect of granting, renewing or extending a tenancy except charges that may be made under the Bill (e.g. rent, deposit and a holding deposit).
The Tenant Fees Bill is a public bill presented to Parliament by the Government.
The Bill was introduced to the House of Commons and given its First Reading on Wednesday 2 May 2018. This stage is formal and takes place without any debate.
It is expected to take effect from early 2019
Private Landlords (Registration) Bill – date to be announced – England only
The Private Landlords (Registration) Bill was introduced to Parliament on 17 January 2018 under the Ten Minute Rule. This allows an MP to make the case for a new bill in a speech lasting up to ten minutes.
The Bill is scheduled to have its second reading later this year but it’s unclear as to how much support there is. No text has been produced as yet.