Another update for Landlords covering a range of topics relating to the legal and safety requirements for property standards and requirements.
MINIMUM ENERGY EFFICIENCY STANDARDS
Energy Performance Certificates are used to indicate the energy efficiency of a building, ranging from Band A (very efficient) and Band G (inefficient). They work as an indication on how much a building will cost to heat and light, and what its carbon emissions will be.
Part Three of the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 outlines that private sector landlords must not grant a new tenancy (including an extension or renewal) after 1st April 2018, and must not continue to let a property on an existing tenancy after 1st April 2020 where the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating is below the minimum level of energy efficiency for private rental properties of Band E.
Part Two of these Regulations gave tenants the power to request permission from their landlords or agents to make energy efficiency improvements to their rented property.
We have some fact sheets which explain these regulations in more details. If you would like to know more, please ask for a copy.
FIVE YEARLY MANDATORY ELECTRICAL INSTALLATION SAFETY CHECKS – COMING SOON
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 included an enabling power for the introduction of electrical safety standard requirements in the private rented sector. A Working Group was set up to determine how five yearly electrical safety checks in the private rented sector could be introduced. The Working Group’s findings were passed onto the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. In July 2018, the UK Government announced that all private rented sector landlords will have to have all electrical installations in their properties inspected and certified safe every five years. An implementation date has not yet been announced. Should these recommendations be implemented, landlords who do not comply could expect a fine of up to £30,000 or a banning order. More information is here.
ANNUAL GAS SAFETY CHECKS
Finally, a piece of legislation that actually benefits landlords is coming into force. As it stands, a gas safety certificate is valid for 12 months from the date it is issued. That means that if you struggle to book an engineer for the day the current certificate expires and have to take an earlier appointment, you have essentially ‘lost’ time that you’ve already paid for. And, because good engineers tend to be booked up well in advance, you may end up having to have the check several weeks before the renewal date.
But, as of 6th April 2018, the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 come into force. The new ‘MOT-style’ approach means landlords can have the annual check any time in the 2 months before the expiry of the current certificate and still retain the original expiry date. For example, if your gas safety certificate expires on 23rd July 2018, you could have the annual check on 27th May 2018 and the renewal date would still be 23rd July 2019.
This change in the law benefits landlords in three ways:
- You don’t have to worry about trying to find an engineer who can carry out the inspection as close to the expiry date as possible because you have a two-month window
- You don’t lose any of the value of the cost of the annual check
- It makes your administration easier, as the expiry date will be the same each year.
We must be careful not to get the timings wrong, because if the inspection is carried out less than 10 months on from the last check, it will ‘reset the clock’ and the new 12-month period will begin from that date.
The other thing you need to know is that you must now keep hold of the record of the last two gas safety checks. Even though it is the gas engineer’s duty to date the certificate, it remains your legal duty, as the landlord, to be able to demonstrate that the checks were made within the required timescales.
HOMES (FITNESS FOR HUMAN HABITATION) ACT 2018
The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 comes into force on 20th March 2019. Replacing the existing fitness for human habitation clauses in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, this new legislation will apply to all human habitation tenancies lasting up to seven years. Essentially, it exists to protect tenants and ensure their property is fit for purpose and allows tenants to take legal action should this not be the case. Read a summary here.
More updates will follow. If you want to discuss anything or require further clarification, information or advice, please contact 01708 748956