The Deregulation Act 2015 – What does it mean for domestic Landlords?

The Deregulation Act 2015 has introduced important changes. The changes are significant and can have a substantial effect on a landlord’s ability to recover possession of a property from their tenants.

THE DEREGULATION ACT 2015

The Deregulation Act 2015 has introduced important changes.  The changes are significant and can have a substantial effect on a landlord’s ability to recover possession of a property from their tenants.

DeRegulation ImageAs part of this, regarding section 21 notices, otherwise known as a notice to quit, The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 came into force on 1st October 2015.  Changes will affect all new and renewal tenancies created on and beyond this date.  Existing tenancies including those continuing on a statutory periodic basis will presently be unaffected by these changes but will be subject to the new regulations from 1 October 2018.

Prescribed Requirements

The Regulations place a number of requirements on landlords before a section 21 notice can be validly served.  From 1st October landlords must provide the tenant with the following prescribed information at the start of the tenancy:

  • A copy of “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” supplied by the government to help landlords and tenants understand their rights and responsibilities, and what to do should things go wrong
  • A valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • A gas safety certificate
  • Tenancy deposit prescribed information (within 30 days of receipt of deposit).

While the first item is the only new requirement, failure to provide all of the above, and prove that they were provided to the tenant, may now prevent landlords from being able to issue a valid notice for possession at the end of the rental term so it is essential that landlords follow the correct procedures.

Tenancy Deposit Protection

The Deregulation Act 2015 also provides greater clarity on some of the more detailed requirements around protecting tenant deposits, especially with regard to whether the pre 6th April 2007 deposits, i.e., those held before any tenancy deposit regulations were introduced, fall under the protection rules.

In relation to serving section 21 notices:

  • Landlords can only serve a section 21 notice after 4 months of the first tenancy and there is a 6 month time limit after which a section 21 notice expires
  • The section 21 notice can expire on any day and does not have to end on the last day of a period of the tenancy provided that the necessary period of notice is given
  • In relation to the above, provision has been made for the refunding of rent paid in advance where a tenancy is terminated part way through a payment period
  • The section 21 notice has to be in the new ‘prescribed form’
  • Any health and safety improvement notice served by the local authority means no section 21 notice can be served for 6 months.

As regards the last point, this has been introduced to protect the most vulnerable tenants living in poor or unsafe conditions and prevent so-called retaliatory or revenge evictions where a landlord serves notice to terminate a residential tenancy after the tenant has made a complaint about the condition of the property to the Local Authority.  The Act sets out procedural guidance for handling a tenant’s complaints in relation to the condition of the property and what an ‘adequate’ response from the Landlord entails.

Please contact us if you would like any further information or to discuss how the new regulations affect you.

As part of our property lettings service, we will ensure that all the landlord’s ‘Prescribed Requirements’ as set out in the Deregulation Act 2015 are met and also advise you on your other legal obligations as a Landlord.

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