A Time for Change, a Time for Training

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The start of September is traditionally the ‘back to school’ period and I always think of it as a time of new beginnings.

There are certainly a lot of new beginnings happening for landlords and letting agents, as we seem to be moving through a period of major change in the law.

Change and the Deregulation Act 2015

One act bringing in new changes is the Deregulation Act 2015. 

Part of this came into effect in the spring - the part ‘fixing’ the issues arising from the Superstrike case.  Landlords no longer have to re-serve prescribed information if the tenancy continues as a periodic after the fixed term ends for example, and now ALL deposits (even those which were paid before the regulations came into force on 7 April 2007) must be protected before a valid section 21 notice can be served.

However the Deregulation Act did not stop there.  New anti-retaliatory eviction measures will be coming into force on 1 October which will prevent landlords from being able to serve a valid section 21 notice if tenants have complained about the condition of the property and their Local Authority Environmental Health dept have supported them by serving an improvement notice.

There is also going to be a new prescribed form for section 21 notices, new preconditions for serving a valid section 21 notice (such as compliance with gas safety regulations) and time limits on when you can serve and use them for new tenancies after 1 October.

Other changes to landlord law

The changes to section 21 are of enormous significance for all landlords and letting agents.  However they are not the only changes taking place.

New regulations came into force earlier this year regarding disclosure and transparency of letting agents fees, and further changes are likely
It seems certain that the Right to Rent checks, currently being trialled in the West Midlands, will be rolled out nationwide, with increased penalties for landlords who fail to comply, and maybe new rights to evict tenants who lose their right to rent status
It looks as if there are also plans to widen the definition of a licensable HMO to bring more properties into scope, and
The government have announced that they will be bringing in new penalties against rogue landlords, in a new Housing Bill to be published later this year

A time for training

My Easy Law Training Company is running a number of legal workshops which will help landlords and agents get a grip on these new laws.  For example Solicitor David Smith will be looking at regulations for letting agents and agency law in a workshop in London on 15 September - find out more here

I will be doing a general ‘Essential legal points for landlords’ workshop in Winchester on 24 September – find out more here,

and Barrister Sam Madge Wyld will be delivering a legal update workshop looking in particular at new legislation, in Ely on 1 October – find out more here.  

You can see the full workshop program here, and sign up to the mailing list here.

Tessa Shepperson
Tessa is a specialist landlord & tenant lawyer and director of the training company Easy Law Training Ltd.

Posted by Tessa Shepperson, LandlordLaw on 18 August 2015

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