Blogs and advice on Residential Property Management London
Sections 122 and 123 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016, electrical safety standards, come into force on 25 October 2019. This means we are finally one step closer to the introduction of mandatory electrical safety checks in the private rented sector in England and will see actual regulations very soon.
An enabling power was contained in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 under Section 122 to allow the Secretary of State through regulations to impose responsibilities on private landlords to ensure that electrical safety standards are met in a property under their ownership, while a tenancy is in place. The Section also allows the Secretary of State to specify obligations that may be required of the landlord with regards to the frequency of checks and the expertise expected of any persons who undertake such checks.
Section 123 provides for the enforcement of any responsibilities introduced under Section 122 including the use of financial penalties and rights of appeal.
Following Royal Assent of the Housing and Planning Act on 12 May 2016, electrical and tenant bodies was established to provide recommendations on what the requirements for electrical safety in the private rented sector should look like.
Damp and mould are caused by excess moisture. Moisture in buildings may be caused by leaking pipes, rising damp in basements or ground floors, or rain seeping in because of damage to the roof or around window frames. In a newly built home damp can occur if the water used when the house was built is still drying out. The usual suspect for the cause of mould within your home is prolonged condensation. Continuous condensation problems are usually accompanied by black mould.
A home suffering from poor ventilation will be vulnerable to both condensation and mould problems. Mould moves through the air as miniature spores heading for damp, wet areas of the home such as bathrooms, basements and attics.
Recommended new safety measures to better protect private tenants by reducing the risk of electric shocks or fires caused by electrical faults were published for consultation 17 February 2018.
Five yearly mandatory electrical installation safety checks for all private rented properties and safety certificates for tenants, to prove checks and repair work have been completed, are part of a package of independent recommendations to improve safety.
The government is also consulting on how best to enforce the strengthened safety regime along with whether landlords who do not comply should face tough penalties of up to £30,000.
As well as making homes safer for tenants, electrical installation improvements benefit the landlord as a material improvement to their properties, helping prevent fires which could cause costly and significant damage. Tenants in the private rented sector face a higher risk of electrical shock and fires caused by electrical faults in their homes compared to social housing tenants.
To address this the government introduced new powers in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to set and enforce tougher electrical safety standards in the private rented sector and established a working group of independent experts from industry and a range of other sectors to develop recommendations.
Increasing rents under Assured and Assured Shorthold Tenancies
Most of the time the landlord is more in control when it comes to the rent payable by their tenants. If the tenant is unable or unwilling to agree a rent increase, either within the existing assured shorthold tenancy (‘AST’) or on a renewal, the landlord can serve notice under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (“the 1998 Act”) to end the AST (once outside any fixed term or pursuant to any break provision in the agreement) and re-let the property at an acceptable rent.
However, where landlords let to longer term tenants either under assured tenancies or ASTs, or they otherwise have no desire to end the current tenancy, the landlord needs to consider the correct process where they intend to lawfully impose a rent increase. This will be particularly relevant should the Government’s proposals to end the “non-fault” process for possession under Section 21 of the 1998 Act become a reality, creating longer term security of tenure for residential tenants. This Legal Update sets out the process for increasing rents payable under assured tenancies and ASTs.
Most modern residential leases include a provision to enable a landlord or management company to recover their legal costs from their leaseholders through service charges. This will usually enable legal costs incurred in litigation with any leaseholder(s), for example to pursue recovery of unpaid service charges from leaseholders, to be funded via the service charge. However, Section 20C of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 allows a residential leaseholder to apply for an order that any costs incurred by their landlord or management company in connection with any proceedings before a Court or Tribunal are not to be regarded as “relevant costs” when determining the amount of service charges payable by that leaseholder “or any other person specified in the
All flats and some freehold properties, especially the ones located on managed estates are subject to covenants affecting how the property is to be used and setting other rules in relation to when and to whom the property might be let. It is important for Property Owners and their Agents to consider those requirements prior to letting to ensure that all obligations are complied with and thus avoid disputes. It is highly important for Block Managers, Developers, Managers and their Managing Agents to be familiar with any restrictions on, and obligations affecting, the letting of units within a development.This is a brief guide as to the matters to be considered when permitting the letting of a residential unit.
How to check
Check your lease or in the case of freehold property, the Transfer.
What to look for
In our experience the covenants placing restrictions on or imposing obligations for Property Owners intent on letting might include all or some of the following:-
A prohibition on letting of part only or taking in lodgers or paying guests
– This will prevent the letting of rooms within, as distinct from the whole, property.
– It will also prevent the letting of the property separately to its garage or parking space where the same is demised under a single Lease or Transfer.
A prohibition on letting of the whole
The UK Government has announced plans to consult on new legislation to abolish Section 21 evictions, which are also called no fault evictions in England. This will effectively create open ended tenancies, and lead to what the Government believe will be more effective means of getting their property back when they genuinely need to do so.
Under the UK Government’s proposals, landlords will have to provide a concrete, evidenced reason already specified in law for bringing tenancies to an end.
To ensure landlords have confidence the Government will allow them to be able to end tenancies where they have legitimate reason to do so. To this end, Ministers at Westminster will amend the Section 8 eviction process, so property owners are able to regain their home should they wish to sell it or move into it.
Carrying out major works on a property or development is sometimes followed by a
disagreement from one or more property owners who have an obligation to contribute to minor/major works.
This can lead to a delay in the works starting due to the dispute itself, or because a property owner
refuses to pay their share of the works.
For the most part, Landlords and management companies are in a strong position when faced with
such disagreements and can rely on the provisions requiring the property owner to contribute to such
works in the relevant agreements (Leases or Transfers). However, what happens if the Landlord is
faced with a dispute by a Leaseholder claiming that the works are improvements and not repairs, and
are therefore not payable? This Legal Update will look at what a Landlord should consider before
imposing charges for major works if an element of improvement is included in the schedule of works.