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Posted on August 19th 2015 by admin-movingin

Important changes are imminent for private rented sector

We are indebted to lawyer Tessa Shepperson for her round-up of all the legal changes imminently coming the way of the lettings industry in England.

This first appeared in her Landlord Law newsletter.

  1. Changes to section 21

There are big changes coming to section 21:

Anti-retaliatory eviction measures. These will restrict landlords’ ability to serve a valid section 21 notice if the tenants have complained about the condition of the property AND if the Local Authority have served an improvement or similar notice on the landlord.

This measure should not affect landlords who respond promptly to tenants and who keep properties in good condition. Local Authority EHOs  are mostly overworked and do not have enough staff to deal properly with their case load so are not going to want to waste resources on anything other than clear cases of bad practice.

A new section 21 notice. I have seen a draft of this, but no doubt it will be amended before the final version is released. This is really good news for landlords as most of the problems in the past with s21 evictions have been about the correct drafting of the notice.

More preconditions for serving a s21 notice. At the moment these are compliance with the tenancy deposit rules and having a licence for a licensable HMO. Here are the new ones coming:

  • Installing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Serving on the tenant a gas safety certificate,
  • An energy performance certificate, and
  • A copy of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s ‘How to Rent’ guide

Time limits – you will not be able to serve a s21 notice during the first four months of a tenancy and will not be able to issue proceedings based on a notice more than six months after it was served.

The new s21 measures are due to come into force on October 1, but the pre-conditions and time limits will only (until 2018) apply to new tenancies created after that date.

  1. New Health and Safety measures

These are the requirements to fit smoke and carbon monoxide alarms referred to above.

Note that local fire and rescue services have been provided with free alarms to hand out to landlords so if you want this, have a word with your local service.

  1. Right to Rent

The right to rent checks which came in with the Immigration Act 2014 have been trialled in the West Midlands over the past 6 months.

However, these are almost certainly due to be rolled out nationwide as fast as the Government can manage it. New measures are also being planned for a new immigration act which will involve harsher penalties for landlords who fail to carry out the checks, including imprisonment, and also the power to evict tenants without getting a court order first.

  1. HMO Licensing

The Government has indicated that it is going to revisit mandatory licensing and widen the definition so more properties will come within it.

So if you manage a property which is an HMO but not a licensable one, this may change in the not too distant future.

  1. Penalties for Rogue Landlords

The Government has indicated that it is determined to crack down on rogue landlords by introducing new penalties.


That’s a lot of change coming up! So you need to make sure you keep yourself informed.