Upcoming legislation changes in the lettings industry

Callum Ward, 15 December 2020

Throughout the year we are set to see numerous legislation changes in the lettings industry, so we have compiled everything you need to know all in one place.

Mandatory electrical inspections – April 2020

On 13th January 2020, long-awaited plans were published by the government regarding the introduction of compulsory electrical safety checks.

The new “The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020” – awaiting parliament approval – state that private landlords must carry out a full Electrical Installation Condition Report to improve electrical safety of rental properties across the country.

The regulations are expected to come into force on 1st April 2020 and will apply to all new single tenancies. The regulations will be extended to all existing tenancies by April 2021.

If you have listed your property with Intus Lettings and do not already have an electrical certificate in place, please contact your local office – contact details can be found here. Otherwise, we will act in your best interest and get this done prior to April 2021. Several emails have been sent from ourselves regarding this previously.

Extension of the minimum notice period

The following tenants have the right to extended notices:

• Assured shorthold (including starter tenancies)

• Assured

• Secure

• Flexible

• Introductory

• Demoted

• Regulated (protected)

Extended notice period

For notices served between 26 March 2020 and 28 August 2020 inclusive of, the minimum notice period was three months.

For notices served between 29 August 2020 and 31 March 2021 inclusive of, the minimum notice period is six months, unless exceptions apply (see below).

Exceptions

From 29 August 2020, in circumstances such as anti-social behaviour, domestic violence or rent arrears, the tenant will be entitled to the following notice:

Standard pre-extension notice period

Where the landlord is seeking possession on the grounds listed below, the notice period will revert to the standard length for each tenancy, meaning the extension will not apply:

• The discretionary ground for anti-social behaviour for secure tenancies, whether with or without other grounds (ground 2 in Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1985)

• The absolute ground for anti-social behaviour for secure tenancies (section 83ZA of the Housing Act 1985)

• Anti-social behaviour grounds for assured and assured shorthold tenancies (grounds 7A or 14 in Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988).

In this section, references to a secure tenancy include flexible tenancy where possession is sought in the fixed term.

Two weeks’ notice

Two weeks’ notice period applies where the tenancy is assured and possession is sought on the grounds of offence committed at a riot, domestic violence or acquiring the tenancy as a result of a false statement.

Four weeks’ notice

The notice period is four weeks where

• At least six months’ rent is unpaid (all tenancy types listed above)

• The tenancy is regulated/protected, and the landlord is seeking possession for anti-social behaviour (Case 2, Schedule 15 to the Rent Act 1977)

• The tenancy is secure, and the landlord is seeking possession for a conviction for an offence committed at a riot, domestic violence or acquiring the tenancy as a result of a false statement (grounds 2ZA, 2A and 5, Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1985 respectively)

• The tenancy is an introductory or demoted and the landlord is seeking possession for reasons related to anti-social behaviour or domestic violence.

In this section, references to a secure tenancy include flexible tenancy where possession is sought in the fixed term.

Three months’ notice

The notice period is three months’ where:

• The grounds for eviction relate to the tenant’s immigration status (in practice, where a tenant has failed the right to rent check)

• The tenancy is an assured tenancy and possession is sought following the death of the former tenant (ground 7, Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988).

Section 21 notice: prescribed form and time limits

From 29 August 2020, assured shorthold tenants are entitled to a minimum six months’ section 21 notice. Section 21(4D) of the Housing Act 1988 has been amended to extend the period in which the landlord can start possession proceedings from six to ten months after the service of a section 21 notice.

COVID-19 guidance for landlords and tenants

For the government guidance on COVID-19 restrictions for landlords and tenants, please visit this link.

For any other queries surrounding the upcoming legislation changes throughout the year, please feel free to get in touch with your local Intus Lettings branch, where our dedicated team will be happy to help.


Upcoming legislation changes in the lettings industry

Callum Ward, 15 December 2020

Throughout the year we are set to see numerous legislation changes in the lettings industry, so we have compiled everything you need to know all in one place.

Mandatory electrical inspections – April 2020

On 13th January 2020, long-awaited plans were published by the government regarding the introduction of compulsory electrical safety checks.

The new “The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020” – awaiting parliament approval – state that private landlords must carry out a full Electrical Installation Condition Report to improve electrical safety of rental properties across the country.

The regulations are expected to come into force on 1st April 2020 and will apply to all new single tenancies. The regulations will be extended to all existing tenancies by April 2021.

If you have listed your property with Intus Lettings and do not already have an electrical certificate in place, please contact your local office – contact details can be found here. Otherwise, we will act in your best interest and get this done prior to April 2021. Several emails have been sent from ourselves regarding this previously.

Extension of the minimum notice period

The following tenants have the right to extended notices:

• Assured shorthold (including starter tenancies)

• Assured

• Secure

• Flexible

• Introductory

• Demoted

• Regulated (protected)

Extended notice period

For notices served between 26 March 2020 and 28 August 2020 inclusive of, the minimum notice period was three months.

For notices served between 29 August 2020 and 31 March 2021 inclusive of, the minimum notice period is six months, unless exceptions apply (see below).

Exceptions

From 29 August 2020, in circumstances such as anti-social behaviour, domestic violence or rent arrears, the tenant will be entitled to the following notice:

Standard pre-extension notice period

Where the landlord is seeking possession on the grounds listed below, the notice period will revert to the standard length for each tenancy, meaning the extension will not apply:

• The discretionary ground for anti-social behaviour for secure tenancies, whether with or without other grounds (ground 2 in Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1985)

• The absolute ground for anti-social behaviour for secure tenancies (section 83ZA of the Housing Act 1985)

• Anti-social behaviour grounds for assured and assured shorthold tenancies (grounds 7A or 14 in Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988).

In this section, references to a secure tenancy include flexible tenancy where possession is sought in the fixed term.

Two weeks’ notice

Two weeks’ notice period applies where the tenancy is assured and possession is sought on the grounds of offence committed at a riot, domestic violence or acquiring the tenancy as a result of a false statement.

Four weeks’ notice

The notice period is four weeks where

• At least six months’ rent is unpaid (all tenancy types listed above)

• The tenancy is regulated/protected, and the landlord is seeking possession for anti-social behaviour (Case 2, Schedule 15 to the Rent Act 1977)

• The tenancy is secure, and the landlord is seeking possession for a conviction for an offence committed at a riot, domestic violence or acquiring the tenancy as a result of a false statement (grounds 2ZA, 2A and 5, Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1985 respectively)

• The tenancy is an introductory or demoted and the landlord is seeking possession for reasons related to anti-social behaviour or domestic violence.

In this section, references to a secure tenancy include flexible tenancy where possession is sought in the fixed term.

Three months’ notice

The notice period is three months’ where:

• The grounds for eviction relate to the tenant’s immigration status (in practice, where a tenant has failed the right to rent check)

• The tenancy is an assured tenancy and possession is sought following the death of the former tenant (ground 7, Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988).

Section 21 notice: prescribed form and time limits

From 29 August 2020, assured shorthold tenants are entitled to a minimum six months’ section 21 notice. Section 21(4D) of the Housing Act 1988 has been amended to extend the period in which the landlord can start possession proceedings from six to ten months after the service of a section 21 notice.

COVID-19 guidance for landlords and tenants

For the government guidance on COVID-19 restrictions for landlords and tenants, please visit this link.

For any other queries surrounding the upcoming legislation changes throughout the year, please feel free to get in touch with your local Intus Lettings branch, where our dedicated team will be happy to help.