A DASH Landlord Webinar New Year - New Rules?? A legislative Update - Don Robbie - NRLA Teresa Kaczmarek - NRLA Linda Cobb- DASH Landlord ...
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LC A DASH Landlord Webinar New Year – New Rules?? A legislative Update 28th January 2021 Don Robbie – NRLA Teresa Kaczmarek – NRLA Linda Cobb– DASH Landlord Accreditation
LC What we will Cover Today: • An update on the Housing, Fitness for Human Habitation Act • Electrical Safety legislation – changes from July 1st 2020 • MEES Regulations – changes from April 1st 2020 • Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space) • Eviction Ban and a round up of the new Possession Process • Question and Answers Session
LC Housing, Fitness for Human Habitation Act 2018 2020 Update • Act provides further protection and enforcement powers for social and private tenants • Not new rented accommodation standards introduced BUT it reinforces compliance with existing standards • Applied to all new tenancies from 20th March 2019 • From 20th March 2020, this Act applies to all existing tenancies • A detailed, documented, photographed inventory and condition report signed by tenants before commencement is essential (but not law) • Recommended landlords/agents carry out quarterly visits (with tenant agreement) to check property still safe and hazard free inside and outside (DASH Manual)
LC HFHH Act 2018 Some useful questions to ask yourself • When was the last time you visited your rental property ? Virtually? Physically? • Did you visit every room? • Did you check the smoke alarms? Ask tenant to do on your check in call? • Did you get the Tenant to sign when you visited? • Have you an inventory? – are there photos? • Would Do you supply your tenants with contracts details when you are on hols? (☺ oh wishful thinking Linda!) • Do you have a handrail on all steps over 3 ? – and the cellar? • Is the garden level? Excess rubbish? Fences in order? Leaky guttering? • When does your EPC expire (10 years! yes they have been around for 10 years!) • If you use an agent have read the contractual arrangement recently? • DASH Landlord Accreditation inspections can help
LC Electrical Safety in Single Family Properties – (1of 2) • Since 2004, all HMO’s have required a valid Electrical Installation & Condition Report (EICR) Certificate following an inspection by a qualified engineer undertaken every 5 years • 2016 Housing & Planning Act made provision for this to be extended to single family properties • Government has now enacted this requirement via statutory instrument: Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020
LC Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 (2 of 2) • New tenancies in single family properties created on or after 1st July 2020 require a valid EICR certificate and supplied to all tenants before start of tenancy • Electrical standards assessed to 18th Edition Wiring Regulations and deemed safe at time of assessment and maintained as such • Existing tenancies created before 1st July 2020 will need to comply by 1st April 2021 Guidelines: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electrical- safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector-guidance-for-landlords- tenants-and-local-authorities/guide-for-landlords-electrical-safety-standards- in-the-private-rented-sector
TK MEES Regulations Changes from 1st April 2020 – (1 of 2) Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property for England and Wales) Regulations 2015 • 1st April 2018 Minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES) for new tenancies of private rented accommodation - EPC rated E or higher • Only exception - PRS exemption register entry (discussed next slide) • 1st April 2020 - MEES requirement now applies to all existing tenancies • Likely Government will raise minimum standard EPC rating to C by 2030 • Important to keep improving rental property insulation & energy efficiency on a planned basis to meet rising requirements • Very limited grant funding now available
TK MEES Regulations Changes from 1st April 2020 – (2 of 2) PRS Exemption Register (Exemption to MEES standards) • Must register a valid exemption (lasts for 5 years) • Entry will be reviewed by local authority re justification/validity Exemption categories ✓ The ‘all relevant improvements made’ exemption (Landlord has spent £3500 on property but still below E) ✓ The ‘High cost’ exemption (Improvement required would cost over £3500) ✓ ‘Wall insulation’ exemption (Insulation would have adverse effect on property) ✓ ‘Third-party’ consent exemption (Unable to get tenant, planning or freeholder permission) ✓ ‘Property devaluation’ exemption (Improvements would result in 5% devaluation of property) PRS Register website: https://prsregister.beis.gov.uk/
TK Green Homes Grants • Now launched – apply for your voucher from gov.uk/apply-green-homes-grant • Entitles homeowners (incl landlords) to a voucher for two-thirds of the cost of energy efficiency measures, up to £5k per property. • Need to include a ‘primary’ measure (insulation or low carbon heating) to be eligible for funding for ‘secondary’ measures. • Check what your property is eligible for using the online tool available at simpleenergyadvice.org.uk/pages/green-homes- grant
TK Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space) • New scheme will be introduced from 4th May 2021 • Debtors who are seeking official debt advice through local authorities or FCA-approved debt advisors may be granted 60 days’ ‘Breathing Space’ to enable them to find a debt solution • Creditors including landlords, banks, utility companies will not be able to contact debtors in regard to the debt or require repayment for the duration of Breathing Space • Landlords will not be able to seek possession using Section 8 arrears grounds (but can continue to use Section 21) • Ongoing costs must still be paid i.e. continuing rent payments, or Breathing Space may be suspended • Further scheme where there is a mental health crisis • Landlords should consider use of guarantors and room only lets for HMOs • Full guidance: https://www.nrla.org.uk/news-breathing-spaces-new- rules-will-give-tenants-break-from-debt
DR Right to Rent Legislation Recent Changes (Nov 2020) • New Home Office online system for checking Right to Rent status implemented 25th November: www.gov.uk/view-right-to-rent • Allows non-UK nationals to provide a share code & date of birth to landlord to check their status • From 2nd Nov, nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea or the United States of America can show their passport and a paper or electronic document (e.g. boarding pass) proving entry within the last six months to evidence Right to Rent • Temporary coronavirus changes remain in place – checks can done over video call, tenants can send scanned / photos of docs; landlords should use the Landlords’ Checking Service if documents cannot be provided: https://eforms.homeoffice.gov.uk/outreach/lcs-application.ofml
DR Right to Rent Legislation Brexit - EEA and Swiss Nationals • EEA /Swiss Citizens continue to use passport & national identity cards to evidence right to rent until 30 June 2021, or if they have status under the EU Settlement Scheme or status under the points-based immigration system they can choose to evidence their right to rent using the Home Office online service. • No requirement for retrospective checks on EEA or Swiss Citizens who entered in to a tenancy agreement on or before 30 June 2021. • Irish citizens continue to have right to rent for example using their passport. • New guidance on how to conduct right to rent checks on EEA and Swiss nationals after 30 June 2021 will be provided.
DR Dealing with Anti-Social Behaviour ASB issues reported by your tenant Contact ASB officer at local authority and ask for support Most likely they will request tenant keep a log of ASB incidents, date, time duration and type of disturbance. Once log established, ASB officer should advise re next step. ASB apparently caused by your tenant Keep an open mind! Meet your tenants (all of them in the property) and try to understand exact situation and resolve issues if possible Co-operate with ASB Officer but you have limited powers!!
Ending a Tenancy and Obtaining Possession an everchanging situation – A round up
DR Coronavirus Act 2020 Phase 1- effective 26th March • Multi-faceted Act to deal with many diverse issues of the pandemic • Several changes for Private Landlords (S81 - schedule 29) • Royal Assent 25th March 2020 • Government given right to utilise emergency powers • S21 and S8 Notices served (deemed date of service) from 26th March and until 28th August must give private (and social) tenants 3 full calendar months notice to leave property • Courts suspended from processing S21 Applications for Possession Order and also hearing S28 Possession Order hearings. • S21 and S8 Notices issued before 26th March effectively suspended as no work would take place on these if courts involved • Revised S21 & S8 Notices and Court documents published
DR Coronavirus Act 2020 Phase 2 - effective 29th August • 28th August - Statutory Instrument received royal assent • Saturday 29th August came into effect • Courts would remain closed and would not process Possession cases for a further month until 29th September • Section 21 Notices issued from 29th August require at least 6 months notice with no exceptions!! (beginning of the end??) • Revised notice periods laid out for Section 8 for notices issued from 29th August with some grounds now requiring 6 months notice. (government guidelines with full details web link on later slide) • Announcement from Dept of Justice regarding court proceedings re Possession cases and further changes!!
DR Department of Justice Revisions to handling of Possession Cases • Only highly experienced county court judges will hear S21 and S8 cases in order that tenants situations are fully considered • For all possession cases stuck in the court system, landlords must issue a reactivation notice to court and defendants to confirm cases not resolved and need to be progressed. • Landlords must also, in cases of rent arrears declare known circumstances of tenants who have been adversely impacted financially by the pandemic • Principle of cases progressed in order of receipt at court abandoned and priority cases progressed first • Rent Arrears statements from landlords must be submitted by landlords in advance of hearing (pre-hearing assessment) • New S21 and S8 Notices and accompanying court paperwork published • High Court Bailiffs also required to give tenants 2 weeks notice of eviction
DR Some of the revised Section 8 Notice periods Notices served (deemed served) on or after 29th August • (7a) Anti-social behaviour – 4 weeks • (8) Rent arrears of six months or more – 4 weeks • (7b) Right to Rent breach – 3 months • (17) False statement – 2 weeks
DR Key points re latest S21 Notice & Court Forms • Form 6A period of validity now extended from 6 to 10 months due to new notice period in order to allow time to be received by court • S21 Notice now cannot be served to take effect at the end of the usual 6 months fixed term • Initial 4 months rule of any new tenancy still applies - cannot serve S21 Notice until this period has elapsed in any case! • Must read Court form N5B carefully before serving S21 notice - important new implications, can you fully comply with all requirements relating to Gas Certificates, EPC, How to Rent booklet, Licence application compliance, Tenant Fees Act compliance and no Retaliatory Eviction restrictions.
DR Winter 2020/21 - Restrictions on evictions • Evictions was restricted over the Christmas period except in cases of extreme rent arrears, severe antisocial behaviour and domestic abuse • Bailiffs will be instructed not to commence evictions except as above • It’s likely landlords will still be able to pursue proceedings, but will not be able to enforce via eviction by bailiffs • Period pre- and post Christmas originally set as between 11th December and 11th January 2021 • Was superceded by lockdown 2 for England from 5th November and subsequently Tier 1 to 3 directions then by lockdown 3 for England • Now, no evictions by bailiffs can take place until 21st February earliest (plus 2 weeks notice served in advance??)
DR & LC Importance of 3rd Party Mediation!! • Only credible alternative to legal processes • Could easily resolve things quickly - especially at early stage of dispute! • Commercial mediation services available to private landlords • Importance of ‘Call before you serve’ initiative locally!! • MHCLG now considering implementing a national resourced mediation service possibly free to use in order to prevent possession cases and take pressure off county courts! • Landlord Associations continue to lobby for enhanced tenant financial support in England!
DR Mid tenancy issues during Covid 19 Latest MHCLG guidance for Landlords, Tenants & Councils https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and- renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities Latest Update - January 8th 2021 Guidance for Landlords and Tenants Technical Guidance for Eviction Notices Guidance for Local Authorities
ALL Question & Answer Session Over to you…
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