Half of all North West landlords say they are struggling to keep up all the regulation changes which have been coming “thick and fast” recently.
Despite the Government’s promise to reduce red tape for businesses and cut the amount of regulation needed to run a business, it seems they are making an exception for the private rented sector (PRS).
According to a report published by the rochdaleonline.co.uk website, more than half (53%) of landlords in the North West of England say they struggle to keep up with all the changes in law relating to renting out property.
Deposit protection is just one example and has caused much confusion in the landlord community as the law has been changed several times since the introduction of the tenancy deposit protection (TDP) regulations.
Landlords cite the deadline next week which could leave some landlords subject to fines and unable to evict tenants using the no-fault section 21 process.
However this will only affect those landlords with tenants who entered their properties prior to 6th April 2007 and have not had their deposits protected and subscribed information served on them. Landlords in this position can easily remedy the situation by completing this process before the amnesty deadline on the 23rd of June*.
There are already over 100 Acts of Parliament and something like 400 sets of regulations that govern the private-rented sector (PRS) and unless landlords are prepared to do some basic research and keep themselves up-to-date they can easily get themselves into trouble.
CEO of mydeposits Eddie Hooker said:
“It’s important that landlords and letting agents are aware of the legislation changes and how it affects them. They must act now and check whether they need to protect any deposits and avoid a fine.”
Richard Lambert, CEO at the National landlords Association, said:
“Everyone will be relieved that the Deregulation Act has sorted out the uncertainty created by the Superstrike and Charalambous judgements. Now the onus is on those landlords still holding a deposit they haven’t yet protected to make sure they do so before the deadline.”
Landlords who still hold deposits that were taken before the 6 April 2007, and where the tenancy continued as a periotic tenancy prior to that date, aren’t required to protect it. However, if they don’t then they won’t be able to serve a section 21 notice to regain possession of the property.
Mydeposits, a government-authorised scheme, is offering a 50% discount on their joining fee for all landlords who sign up before the 23rd June deadline by using discount code SUM15.
Eddie Hooker says:
“Our advice is simple: if you still have a deposit that was taken before 6 April 2007 then the belt and braces approach is to protect it and provide your tenant with all the relevant information as soon as possible. That way you can avoid a hefty penalty and regain possession if needed.
For any landlords who wish to take advantage of the 50% discount off the mydeposits joining fee, visit the website and apply online quoting SUM15.
Tom Entwistle of LandlordZONE® commented:
“Landlords managing their own buy-to-let properties, and approximately 50% of them do, need to keep abreast of the law. The Deregulation Act 2015, which incidentally contains more changes than those affecting deposits, is just one example of the many changes, and there are many more to come in the future.
“Landlords need to get used to the fact that managing a buy-to-let will become more onerous in the future. To name but a few responsibilities, these include: energy performance certificates (EPCs) and the coming energy efficiency regulations requirements in 2016 and 2018, gas and electricity checks, legionella inspections, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, licensing, landlord accreditation, not to mention tenant screening and inventory checks with deposit protection needed and the coming radical changes to tenure laws in some of the regions like Scotland and Wales. The list goes on…
“To keep up-to-date landlords should consider joining one of the professional landlord associations, read their regular information and attend their local meetings. The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) and the National Landlords Association (NLA) are two of the biggest, but there are others locally, like the Southern Landlords Association and the Scottish Landlords Association. Landlords can also get lots of information from the Internet but always use reliable sources.”
*The Government’s amendment in the Deregulation Act 2015 aims to clarify what had become a confusing situation following several court cases and the Superstrike and Charalambous judgements. So we to try to clarify here:
- If a landlord has taken a deposit, regardless of the date she took it, she will be unable to serve a valid section 21 notice if the deposit has not properly been protected and the statutory information (section 213 notice) served. Landlords should always get proof of service of notices.
- If a deposit was taken on or after 6 April 2007 the landlord will be unable to serve a valid section 21 notice if they failed to protect it and serve the statutory notice within the 30 day deadline for compliance.
- Landlords will only be liable to a fine if their tenant takes them to court for failure to comply after the law came into force, i.e., deposits taken before 6 April 2007 will not result in a fine, just the section 21 sanction.
- Where a landlord fails to comply after 6 April 2007 then they will be subject to a fine of up to 3 times the deposit and will be barred from using the no fault section 21 process.
- The only way a landlord can use the s21 process when in default is by returning the deposit, but will still be subject to a fine.