Being prepared for imminent legislative changes is a must for all successful landlords - and 2017 is set to bring a number of new regulations and requirements.
Allison Thompson, managing director at property specialist Leaders, says: “2017 looks like being a busy time for landlords as they aim to remain on the right side of the law and avoid a range of penalties by adhering to all relevant rules.
“The good news is that adequate preparation - and professional support - can help landlords to meet all the new regulations.”
Allison has picked out five issues all landlords should consider in the early part of the new year:
1) Right to Rent
Landlords who do not comply with the Right to Rent scheme now face a range of stricter penalties, including the possibility of being sent to prison. Landlords must check the relevant documents of prospective tenants to ensure they have the right to rent in the UK before agreeing a tenancy.
2) Electrical safety
The possibility of new legislation coming in April still looms over landlords, following the creation of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 which allows new regulations to be passed in this area. It is widely believed that all tenanted properties will soon have to pass an electrical installation check and electrical appliances will require a PAT test. Landlords should ensure their homes pass now rather than leave it to the last minute.
3) Energy efficiency requirements
From April 2018, landlords will not be allowed to let a property unless it achieves a minimum rating of ‘E’ in its Energy Performance Certificate. This means many older and inefficient homes require updating to reach this standard. While April 2018 may still be 15 months away, tradesmen are likely to be in high demand as the date approaches so having work carried out in 2017 is wise.
4) HMO licensing
The government has confirmed its intention to expand the houses in multiple occupation (HMO) licensing scheme, which will mean up to 175,000 extra HMOs will need to be licensed. Landlords who let an HMO - or are unsure if their property is classified as an HMO - should seek clarification immediately.
5) Deregulation Act
Landlords should ensure they are working in accordance with legislation that has already been passed, such as the Deregulation Act. This means landlords must respond to requests for maintenance from their tenants in a prescribed manner and if they do not, they may be unable to serve notice.
Allison adds: “One way for landlords to gain complete peace of mind is to work with a reputable letting agents. At Leaders, our local experts ensure tenanted properties meet every piece of legislation, meaning landlords never run the risk of being prosecuted for a breach.”
For more information on any of the legislative updates expected to come into effect in 2017, please contact your local Leaders branch.