It’s a complicated and difficult time to be a landlord with punishing tax changes and the removal of mortgage interest relief making letting agents, experts and landlords slaves to the current property market. As a trusted and reputable landlord, it is important that you adhere to certain regulations and laws put in place and to do so you must first understand them.
The lettings industry is ever-changing and the new strict legislation changes reflect this. To gain a better understanding of the rules that are set to come in to play in 2019, it is important to take a look back at some of the changes we have faced in 2018 and ensure that you are following such rules.
Changes that Affected Landlords Throughout 2018
Deregulation Act of 2015
Since the start of October 2018, eviction rules that were introduced as a part of the 2015 Deregulation Act now apply to tenancies started before October 2015. Such changes have been put in place in a bid to protect tenants against unfair eviction. The new regulation means that as a landlord, you will no longer be able serve an eviction notice in written form but instead must use a 6A form when offering a no-fault possession notice. Regarding a shorthold tenancy agreement, a landlord must also serve a section 21 notice in order to reclaim ownership of any property. These changes have been put in place so that the process of rightful eviction is straightforward and universal to all tenancies regardless of when the agreement started.
House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) Reform
October also saw an extension to mandatory HMO licensing, introducing a number of alterations and the dismissal of the ‘three-storey rule’. The reform now states that a HMO license must be acquired if any property is occupied by 5 or more people forming two or more separate households. Prior to the introduction of this change, a HMO license was only necessary in larger HMOs that were three storeys or more. The changes to legislation have also redefined the allowed minimum sizes of bedrooms and landlords letting out HMOs must ensure they meet such requirements. Double bedrooms must now be 10.22sqm; single bedrooms 6.51sqm and a room sleeping a child under the age of 10 must be 4.64sqm.
Changes That Will Affect Landlords in 2019
The government are currently deliberating, debating and planning the introduction of two new policies in 2019 that could drastically affect the letting industry and your role as a landlord. The first of the policies is the ban on residential letting fees which is likely to be introduced at some point in 2019.
The policy is set to ban all fees in respect of reference checks and administration costs and it will be the landlord’s responsibilities to pay such fees. The legislation also proposes to place a cap of six weeks rent to cover an upfront deposit. It is also possible that three year minimum tenancies with six month break clauses could also make an appearance in 2019; however these plans seem less likely to go ahead.
Fletcher Day are a full-service commercial law firm based in Mayfair, London with an experienced team of property solicitors in London who specialise in tenant and landlord disputes, commercial property financing and acquisitions.