New rental market regulation – what landlords and tenants need to know
The 2015 Consumer Protection Act obliges letting agents to publish a comprehensive list of their fees and charges and declare which, if any, client money protection or redress schemes they are affiliated with.
The policy will create transparency around the fees charged by letting agents and increase competition between them as a result.
Lettings agents’ management fees are typically charged at 11% of their property income, according to research from insurer Direct Line for Business. Although letting agents are employed by the landlord and not the tenant, arrangement fees of more than £100 for new tenants are not unusual.
The Department of Communities and Local Government estimates one million tenants move home each year, and a fifth of tenants have complaints about their letting agents.
Landlords face new obligations and the rules around eviction notices have changed under the 2015 Deregulation Act.
From today, landlords will no longer be able to serve Section 21 eviction notices within the first four months of a tenancy, and eviction notices cannot be served more than six months in advance.
They are also unable to serve notice if the tenant does not have an energy performance certificate, or the property is in substandard condition, in a move to curb ‘revenge evictions’.
Housing minister Brandon Lewis said: “"We’re determined to create a bigger, better private rented sector – a key part of that is to tackle the minority of rogue landlords that shirk responsibilities and blight the lives of their tenants.
"That’s why we’ve made changes to outlaw revenge evictions once and for all - so tenants don’t face the prospect of losing their home in light of asking for serious repairs to be made."
Once an eviction notice is served, tenants are entitled to a refund on rent for any month in which the property has been empty, whether or not this is before the termination date.
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
Finally, landlords are obliged to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms from today.
Lewis added: “Fire kills and people are at least four times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there’s no working smoke alarm.
“These changes will help save lives by ensuring all landlords install alarms in their properties, giving tenants the vital seconds they need to escape.”