Landlord regulation changes - Part 1
March 6, 2020
Being a landlord means you must comply with a number of regulations – regardless of whether you’re a full-time landlord, an accidental landlord or a seasoned developer, the rules apply to you. These regulations have increased over the years as various governments have pursued housing policies aimed at continuing to professionalise the private rented sector, making it harder for rogue landlords to operate and improving tenants’ rights.
In this article, we focus on two areas of regulation that every landlord should be aware of, not least because of some upcoming changes that you should be prepared for.
Minimum energy efficiency standards
Most landlords are aware of the minimum energy efficiency standards when letting out their properties to new tenants. Simply put, when you let out your property to new tenants you must ensure that the property has a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) with a minimum E rating.
However, some landlords are not aware that from 1st April 2020, (no this isn’t an early April fools joke), the minimum E rating will apply to all existing tenancies / rental properties! There are some exemptions to the rule, for example, if your rental property is a place of worship, a listed building or if it’s a holiday let being used for less than 4 months a year (click here for the list of exempt properties). This doesn’t apply to you? Yeah, we thought so.
There’s also a further exemption for landlords who can demonstrate that at least £3,500 has been spent on the property (it must have been spent after 1st October 2017) in order to implement recommended energy efficiency improvements, or if further improvements will devalue the property by at least 5%. Any exemption must also be registered with the PRS Exemption Register.
At Vesta, we have an obligation to ensure that any property we market must have a valid, in date EPC (note: EPCs are only valid for 10 years) and we are adopting a policy of flagging to buyers if a tenanted property has an EPC rating of an F or a G. What’s more, there’s talk that the minimum EPC rating will eventually be increased to a D. So, you should spend some time to get prepared if you’re not already!
For more detailed reading on the minimum energy efficiency standards click here.
Or if you require an EPC for your property, feel free to get in touch by sending an email to us at email@example.com and Vesta can help you to arrange this whether you are thinking of selling or not.
Electrical safety checks
In January 2019, the Housing Minister announced that there would be new mandatory electrical safety checks required on private rental properties every 5 years. The rules are currently in draft form, but propose that:
- from 1st July 2020 all new private tenancies will require electrical safety checks (by a qualified person) prior to being let and tested every 5 years thereafter; and
- by 1st April 2021 all existing tenancies / rented properties will require an electrical safety check (and tested every 5 years).
Note that the rules will apply to both regular BTLs as well as HMOs (replacing the existing requirements for HMOs relating to electrical installation testing and inspection).