There has been increasing pressure on landlords across the country, especially in Nottingham, to provide better conditions for their tenants and act lawfully. Now this is being escalated nationally with an update of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 set to be introduced next month on March 20th. But what will that mean for you as a landlord? We explore more below and explain how you can ensure you’re not facing hefty fines or bans.
What Is Changing To The Landlord and Tenant Act?
On March 20th 2019 the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act will change and allow disgruntled tenants to go to courts if their accommodation is not maintained well enough. This will apply to tenancies of less than seven years in England and Wales.
Under the new legislation, tenants can take legal action against their landlords if there are issues with:
- Internal arrangement
- Natural lighting
- Water supply
- Drainage and sanitary conveniences
- Facilities for preparation and cooking of food and for the disposal of waste water
- Hazards under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System
As you can see, this is a fairly comprehensive list and will mean that tenants have much more power than they previously do. Nottinghamshire landlords have been living with the increased regulations of Nottingham’s Landlord Licensing Scheme, so should have their properties already in a condition that adheres to the requirements above.
If your property does fall down on any of the above requirements, tenants can go straight to the courts and gain a court order to ensure changes are made. This could even result in compensation for the tenants, so the pressure is now on landlords to keep homes habitable for their tenants.
What Is Changing To Tenant Fees and Deposits?
Commencing from the 1st June 2019 in England, the Tenant Fees Act 2019 controls what payments a landlord or letting agent may require in connection with a tenancy agreement. This effectively prohibits the fees that tenants can charge and mostly limits approved payments to rent and deposits. Additional fees that can be charged include costs to replace keys or fines for late payment of rent.
On top of the changes to fees, deposits will now be capped for the first-time in history. Under new regulations the Government will suggest a cap of five week’s rent if the annual rent of the property is less than £50,000, rising to six weeks if the fee is higher than that.
This could mean that you as a landlord need to increase your rent costs to accommodate for the lost income that fees would usually bring in to you. Ensure that if that is your outlook that you keep an eye on what other tenants are doing in your area so that you don’t price your property out of business.
What Must Landlords Do To Stay Compliant?
First of all, in light of the changes to fees and deposits you must ensure you are no longer charging fees or deposits above the rate mentioned above. This will become law shortly and doing anything other than following those regulations will therefore become illegal.
In terms of making sure your tenants aren’t going to take you to court, you must keep your property in a condition that you would be happy to live in. There’s plenty of steps you can take to ensure, not only that you’re compliant but also that your reputation as a landlord grows. These include:
- Regularly visiting the property – the best way to ensure all is well with the property is to visit it frequently yourself. We appreciate this may not always be possible if you have properties up and down the UK, though it will allow you to resolve problems before they become catastrophic.
- Regularly speak to your tenants – if visits prove difficult, then pick up the phone or Facetime your tenants so you can view the property with them. Not only will this allow you to prevent any potential errors, it also improves your relationship with your tenants and could lead to them staying in your property for longer.
- Remain up to date with legislation – at the moment, the laws and regulations around the landlord industry are ever-changing to meet the demands of an increasing market. Ensuring you keep up-to-date with legislation could be the difference between you facing hefty costs or court orders. Legislation changes are regularly published so it may be worth setting up Google Alerts around terms like landlord law to get email notifications on new articles published.
Like Some Help With Your Landlord Insurance?
At Coversure Nottingham, we can assist you with your landlord insurance cover. From buildings to contents and most things in between, our dedicated team are here to help you. For a comprehensive quote, contact us now by calling 0115 837 5592, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or clicking here for our full contact details.