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New Regulations for Assured Shorthold Tenancies come into force

On 30 September 2015, the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notice and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 came into force.

Designed to resolve some of the difficulties faced when seeking vacant possession of a residential property, the Regulations place a number of requirements on landlords before a section 21 notice can be validly served (otherwise known as a Notice to Quit).

While undoubtedly a bit of a mouthful to say, in a nutshell, the Regulations require landlords of assured shorthold tenancies, granted (or renewed) from October 1, to provide tenants with the following:

  • A copy of “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” supplied by the government to help landlords and tenants understand their rights and responsibilities, and what to do should things go wrong
  • A valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • A gas safety certificate
  • Tenancy deposit prescribed information (within 30 days of receipt of deposit).

While the checklist is the only new requirement, failure to provide all of the above – and be able to prove that they did so – may now prevent landlords from being able to issue a valid notice for possession at the end of the rental term.

The Regulations also provide a prescribed section 21 notice that must be used when bringing an assured shorthold tenancy to an end. Importantly, however, the original version of the notice contained an error, so it’s vital that landlords adhere to the amended version.

Finally, the Regulations limit a landlord’s ability to issue a s21 notice in the first four months of a tenancy and place restrictions on issuing a s21 notice where the tenant has complained about the condition of the property. It is this that is likely to make the process of securing eviction much more protracted.

Residential assured shorthold tenancies are the most common type of residential tenancy in England and Wales. However, while they can be an excellent long-term investment, difficult tenants can make the process extremely stressful, not to mention financially detrimental.

With this in mind, it is vital that private landlords keep on the right side of the law in case they are faced with a tenant they want to evict. It is only sensible, therefore, that landlords annex the above information to the rental agreement, making sure that each additional item is counter-signed by the tenant.

You can find more information on how to remove problem tenants quickly and cost effectively here.

If you would like to know more about this issue, please contact Linder Myers today.

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