Keep up to date with property news from Langford Estates
Evicting your tenant
The rules for evicting your tenant have changed under current Coronavirus restrictions. As a landlord, you can now only begin eviction action against a tenant who is more than 6 months in rent arrears, signs of domestic abuse, antisocial behaviour, or providing false information.
As a landlord, Langford Estates, would recommend patience and negotiation when it comes to rent arrears with your tenant. The current pause in legal action lasts until 31st March 2021 when the Coronavirus Act 2020 will be reviewed. Langford Estates can offer legal advice on this subject and we will do our best to make sure the outcome is the best for both tenant and landlord.
As a tenant, if you have been served with an eviction notice (Section 21 or Section 8), you should not feel pressured to leave immediately. The notice will give you up to 6 months to leave the property. As a tenant, you should always take legal advice when you receive a notice from your landlord. You may also be able to obtain debt advice from organisations such as Citizens Advice or Shelter. While your notice period is in place you should be able to live in your property free from harassment. If you are in serious rent arrears the landlord or their letting agent will still be able to take action through the courts for recovery of the rent but they should do this in a calm and nonthreatening manner.
The current COVID 19 situation is hard for both landlords and tenants. If you are in rent arrears then you and your landlord are probably both under intense financial pressure.
If you need any help or advice regarding rent arrears or any other tenancy matter please email us at [email protected]
Mandatory Electrical Safety Certification
From 1st April 2021, all tenancies will have to have an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report). Existing tenancies include any tenancies that were created before, on, or after 1st April 2021. It also includes any that were renewed on or after 1st April 2021. This means all properties must hold an EICR, CP12 (Gas safety certificates), and an EPC (energy performance certificate) before any tenancy starts or is renewed. We recommend that all three inspections are completed at least a month before a new tenancy or a renewal of the tenancy. This is because the property might need to get work done so they can get a “satisfactory” rating. This change in legislation means that all electrical installations are checked in the same way that gas installations are.
If the EICR is not completed by the property owner, the local authority can fine landlords up to £30,000. They can also perform emergency remedial work on the property and bill the landlord for any costs.
Dogs and Domestic Animals Bill
The Government is concerned with the number of people who have to end their relationships between themselves and their pets. To combat this they are trying to bring in a bill called “Dogs and Domestic Animals Bill”. This bill will tackle the “no-pets” policy many private landlords have on their properties.
This bill has passed its first reading. However, many people have brought up concerns about it. Concerns such as, will landlords or letting agents have to put in an additional charge for carpets or gardens. When it comes to charging tenants for damages, will there be more leeway for pet owners with the general wear and tear allowed by the Government or will they be stricter? And what about people who are allergic to pets? How can you completely clean all carpets of cat hairs and dog hairs for the next tenant?
There has been a lot of discussion as to how to allow pet owners to prove that their pets are “house-trained” and confirm that they are healthy, well-behaved and the owner is responsible.
Though this clause has passed its first reading. It’s still in the early stages and it may never come into place but it’s our responsibility to make sure if it does come into power, our landlords will be ready.
Viewings will be conducted according to the government’s COVID-19 guidelines. When you book a viewing, you’ll be assigned a time slot. 15 minutes per party to view the property. With the assumption, each party won’t take the fill 15 minutes to talk and view the property. Essential cleaning will take place between each viewing. If you turn up early or late you may be asked to wait for cleaning to be finished or an appropriate time slot. During the viewings, you must NOT touch anything unless for safety concerns like handrails. If you happen to touch anything please inform our agents so appropriate cleaning can take place.
Changes to Right to Rent Scheme
The Home Office is making a number of changes to the Right to Rent scheme in November 2020. The introduction of an online service should make it easier for letting agents to check if applicants have the right to rent in the UK.
The online system will supply a photograph and details of the applicant’s right to work and rent. Agents and landlords can then check that the photograph matches the person applying for the property. A copy of the web page needs to be kept for 12 months after the end of the tenancy.
Calls to end pet discrimination in private rental properties
A Conservative MP has called for the end of pet discrimination in rental properties. He is arguing that if tenants can prove their care for pets they should be allowed to keep them in rental properties.
He is introducing a bill before Parliament to end this perceived discrimination and giving private tenants the right to have a dog or other domestic animal in their rented home.
Arguments against this change in policy have claimed that the reduction in the amount of deposit a landlord is able to take, currently capped at 5 weeks rent, does not provide sufficient funds to cover any potential damage caused by a domestic pet.
The bill should go for its second reading in January 2021. Watch this space for more property news from Langford.