Over the past year there has been quite a few major changes to the way property is let out in the UK, which is why many DIY landlords are now turning to registered letting agents such as Intercounty in order to keep up with the changes in legislation.
The Housing and Planning Act has meant that there are five main changes to the way in which properties are let out. These changes have only been implemented in the UK, and cover five key elements:
- Reclaiming rental properties where the tenant has left
- Electrical Changes - a property will have to be electrically safe
- Agents must have client money protection
- Stopping rogue landlords and property agents from operating
- Creating a database of rogue landlords and property agents
In the past a landlord would have to serve a Section 21 order or take them to court in order to evict a tenant, however under the new changes to the Act you will only need to give notice to a tenant by issuing three warning notices. A landlord can reclaim a property under the following two conditions; either the tenant has already left the property or if they owe more than one months consecutive rent. A landlord will need to send the first letter when they are one months in arrears, then the third must be issued five days before you intend to reclaim the property. If you are using a rental agent such as Intercounty this is will be included in the service.
The changes in Electrical safety covered in the Act are not so clear, a property will have to be deemed as ‘electrically safe’ before it can be rented out, however at the moment the Act doesn’t make this clear how this is going to be determined. We will keep you informed of these changes when they become more apparent.
Under the new Act all letting agents will have to sign up to Client Money Protection - a good lettings agent will do this automatically. It’s an insurance which will cover a landlord if a lettings company goes bust - the insurance will payout any money owing to you on rent from the property. If you are a registered landlord with a lettings agent such as Intercounty you will already be insured against this.
The Act also insures good rental practices, which makes sure that landlords are treated in the correct way and that good rental practices are maintained. Rogue landlords and agents can be fined between £5,000 for breaching a banning order or up to £30,000 for other infringements. Included in this is having to repay rent if they haven’t licensed a property properly.
At the moment it is not clear when these changes will come into force, it’s expected that they will come into action as of 2017 – but if you are finding that these changes are unclear and you would like more advice then why not pop into your local branch of Intercounty for a coffee and a chat or call us on 01279 655248.