On 1 October 2015 a number of provisions in the Deregulation Act 2015 came into force that will have an impact on the private residential letting sector. These provisions are designed to protect tenants against unfair eviction.

 

Retaliatory Eviction

 

From 1 October, where a tenant makes a genuine complaint about the condition of the property that has not been addressed by their landlord and the complaint has been verified by a local authority inspection, and the local authority has served either an improvement notice or a notice of emergency remedial action, a landlord cannot evict that tenant for 6 months. The landlord is also required to ensure that the repairs are completed.

 

Other changes to evictions

 

The Deregulation Act 2015 also makes it more straightforward for landlords to evict a tenant where they are allowed to do so. There is a new form that landlords must use when they are relying on a ‘no fault’ eviction (a section 21 eviction). This form must be used for tenancies entered into on or after 1 October 2015, and we suggest its use for tenancies entered into before that date as well in order to reduce the capacity for error

 

There are some additional new rules, particularly around the information which must be provided to tenants before landlords can serve the new section 21 form

 

At the start of a new tenancy, the landlord must provide a tenant with certain documents. These include the following:

 

1. A valid Energy Performance Certificate. An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) contains information about how much it will costs to heat the property. It also offers recommendations about how to reduce energy costs and save money. A valid annual Gas Safety Certificate. A Gas Safety Certificate is proof that the gas appliance has been checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Each gas appliance must be checked and certified each year.

 

 

 

 

2. A copy of the Government’s "How to rent: the checklist for renting in England" guide. This can be provided in electronic format as a pdf if the tenant has notified the landlord, or a person acting on behalf of the landlord, of an e-mail address at which the tenant is content to accept service of notices and other documents given under or in connection with the tenancy. Otherwise, the guide should be supplied in paper copy. This is a short booklet that gives tenants key details about their rights, and what they should expect from private renting. It also gives information about what to do if there is a problem during the tenancy. From 1 October 2015 it is a new requirement that every landlord must give a copy of this document to their tenant. We recommend that this should be given at the start of a new tenancy.

 

3. These requirements are in addition to the recently introduced need to show that the deposit is protected and prescribed information given to the tenant when a Section 21 is served. The courts will be looking to ensure that all of the above is in place before granting possession to the landlord

 

Copy of the "How to Rent" guide can be found at the following government website

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent

 

More detailed notes on the Deregulation Act 2015 and the legislation surrounding serving section 21 notices for repossession can be found on the following website

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/retaliatory-eviction-and-the-deregulation-act-2015-guidance-note

 

We advise that the preparation and serving of section 21 notices is now, more than ever, something that we advise is carried out by a solicitor. We are always happy to provide details of property specialist solicitor who can carry out this work on your behalf.