Monday 26 October 2015
More legislation you need to know about when renting your property in Clapham, Brixton and elsewhere!
October brings us many things. Cold mornings, grey skies and it brings us a little bit closer to Christmas. My local supermarket outdid themselves by bringing out the tins of Quality street on the last day of September. Fill your boots.
More pressingly though, some interesting bits of legislation have been brought in recently. You will know about some I trust, with my recent post on the Deregulation Act. I thought I'd elaborate on that some more, reason being a landlord asked me more specifically about the changes regarding prescribed information.
We're all familiar with prescribed information. This is given when a tenant's deposit is registered. However as of the first of this month you will need to supply a little bit more...
Point 39 of the Deregulation Act 2015 states that: The Secretary of State may by regulations require information about the rights and responsibilities of a landlord and a tenant under an assured shorthold tenancy of a dwelling-house in England (or any related matters) to be given by a landlord under such a tenancy, or a person acting on behalf of such a landlord, to the tenant under such a tenancy.
So what is this "Prescribed Information" you speak of? Well a lot of you will be thinking it simply refers to the Deposit Protection PI. A standard document that we've all heard of at some stage. It comes attached to the certificate usually, most people don't even think twice.
It's not that. In this case reference is made to a "How to Rent" booklet published by the government. Click here and have a read. You're now legally responsible for serving this on the tenant. A lot of people have criticised its value, arguing that it's a merely a guide aimed at people looking to rent and should be made available earlier in the rental process, not just before signing a tenancy. Truth is that most agents and landlords will send a link through to this booklet prior to starting paperwork. It contains a few obvious things - obvious to you and me - but its existence in itself is anything but. The guide is helpful to those new to the country, supposedly an aid for immigrants that flood in through our private rental sector and perhaps don't know about repairing obligations and the such. The law is of course different from country to country. You would however be surprised at how busy Shelter is with those that are not new to the country. The guide does a good job at pointing out the major landlord obligations. Again something to help the tenants go to the right place when their "rogue" landlord is not complying. That can only be a good thing. It will hold bad landlords accountable and improve the housing stock. Naturally you are of course a good landlord and maintain your property well. This guide will help you because bad landlords with bad property will simply end up selling their properties because they can't be bothered to maintain them well and deal with the extra regulations. Enter stage right, savvy investor. Embrace the compliance and see your returns improve.
In any case, more changes you as a landlord should be aware of. Is your agent handling these things for you? Excellent. If not, time to hand over your management to someone in the know.
Looking at an investment property? Excellent news - run it by me and I'm happy to give you my opinion on figures: buying, resale, letting, you name it. Email me on email@example.com
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