Deregulation Act - important changes coming into play

Napthens - October 2nd 2018

Landlords who granted an assured shorthold tenancy in relation to a residential property on or after 1 October 2015 should be well aware of the new requirements placed on them by the Deregulation Act, which came into force that day. However, landlords who granted a tenancy before that day may not be aware that from 1 October 2018, the legislation will also apply to them - regardless of when the tenancy was granted.

The Act contained a long stop date of 3 years which gave landlords of residential properties time to prepare.

Landlords will be familiar with the obligation on them to protect a tenant's deposit within a specific time frame, and that failure to do so can prevent them from obtaining vacant possession of their property. The changes that came in on 1 October 2018 include several new requirements that landlords will now need to comply with before they are able to serve a Section 21 Notice.

The additional requirements include:

  • Providing the tenant with a copy of the property’s EPC certificate;
  • Providing the tenant with a copy of the Gas Safety certificate; and
  • Providing the tenant with a copy of the How to Rent Checklist , which is a government publication available from the website.

That's not all, once the Landlord has complied with the above and is looking to serve a Section 21 Notice they need to ensure that the notice served is the new prescribed form, and that the new time limits are adhered to. Further, the landlord may not be able serve the notice if the tenant has served an improvement notice on the landlord in respect of repairs and the poor condition of the property.

Historically, a landlord could serve a Section 21 Notice at any time during the fixed term period as long as the notice expired in line with the end of the term. Now, a landlord will not be able to serve the notice within the first four months of the tenancy and once the notice has been served there are time limits in which to commence possession proceedings for a court order.

Whilst this law has been in force since 2015, it will feel very new to those landlords who granted a tenancy before the 1 October 2015 and so it is important that specialist advice is obtained first before taking any steps to obtain possession of a residential property.

Should you need any advice in relation to the recent law changes, please get in touch