Legal advice for Landlords and rented property

Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 sections 1 and 2

If a tenant makes a written request for your actual address, wherever in the world you may be, it is a criminal offence to withhold the information and it must be provided within 21 days of receipt of the request, otherwise you may be liable, upon conviction, to a maximum fine of £2,500. If you, as the landlord, are a limited company or body corporate, upon written request by the tenant, you are obliged to provide the name and address of every Director and the Company Secretary within 21 days, or you could face a further fine of up to £2,500.

Right to Rent in the UK – Documentation and Working Visa

As from 1st February 2016, under the Immigration Act 2014, it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that all tenants have the right to rent in the UK by making and keeping a copy of passports for all tenants and evidence of their immigration status (biometric residence permit). As part of the application process we will undertake tenant checks to the best of our ability.

It is a requirement to obtain the required identification documents for all occupants of property whether or not they are named on the tenancy agreement. If we are not managing the property on your behalf we cannot accept liability for any subsequent issues which arise either directly or indirectly from our actions in this respect if the occupants of the property change during the tenancy. Please note that the penalty for non-compliance is up to £3,000 per Tenant.

The Deregulation Act 2015

From 1st October 2015 a number of important changes came into effect for all new Assured Shorthold Tenancies in England that started on or after 1 October 2015:

There are new restrictions on serving Section 21 Notices early and a new template Section 21 form to use. The Section 21 Notice cannot be served until 4 months of the tenancy has passed. The new rules also remove the need for a landlord to specify that a tenancy must end on the last day of a rental period.

Please note: In the event that a tenant has paid an amount of rent in advance and a Section 21 Notice requires them to leave during the period paid for, the tenant is entitled to a refund of the rent paid for the days they are not occupying the property.

Landlords will not be able to serve a Section 21 Notice on tenancies that began on or after 1st October 2015 unless they have provided tenants with the following information:
A Gas Safety Certificate covering all fixed and portable gas appliances provided by the landlord for the tenants’ use.
• The property’s Energy Performance Certificates (EPC);
• The Department for Communities and Local Government “How to Rent – the checklist for renting in England”. • This can be provided in electronic format, or if the tenant requests it, or does not have access to IT facilities, should be supplied in paper copy. Agents and Landlords should supply the document itself as it is unlikely a link to where the document can be found on the internet will be sufficient. This should be given at the start of a new tenancy and the commencement of fixed term renewals.

The Act also restricts a Landlord’s ability to serve a section 21 Notice to recover possession of their property if:
1) The tenant has made a written complaint to the landlord or agent about the condition of their property or any common parts of the property (hallways, stairs, and gardens) which tenants have the right to use.
2) The landlord or their agent has not provided an adequate written response within 14 days
3) If no adequate written response is received the tenant can complain to the relevant local authority who could decide to serve a Relevant Notice in respect of the property or could carry out emergency remedial action themselves using their powers under HHSRS - the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.

Any failure to deal with complaints and repairs could become a serious and very expensive issue because a poorly maintained property means landlords may not be able to regain possession of their rental property for six months (i.e. from the date on which a local authority serves an improvement notice)