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Making sense of the Deregulation Act – what a Landlord needs to know

From Robert Ulph on January 6, 2015

The number of questions I am asked by Landlords is definitely increasing and this is mainly due to the increasing complexity of rules and regulations around assured shorthold tenancies (AST). Recently we had Royal Assent on the Deregulations Act and you may think as a Landlord what does it mean to me?

There is a lot in this Act that your agent should make you aware of, but I have heard recently that even some agents are finding it difficult to keep up with these new regulations and therefore in this article I can give a brief overview and run over some of the more important bits of the Act.

Superstrike V. Rodrigues case – Action Required by 24th June 2015

As I wrote earlier in the year, the above case caused big issues for Landlords if New Prescribed Information was not passed to tenants or deposits were not re-registered at the end of a fixed term tenancy. It was proposed that these should result in fines for Landlords, but I am pleased to say this has now been overturned and no new prescribed information is required after a fixed term tenancy comes to an end and the tenancy rolls on to a periodic (month to month) basis.

However the Act has introduced that any AST starting before 6th April 2007, which previously didn’t need to be protected, now must be protected in one of the deposit schemes and the deadline for this is 24th June 2015. Failure to do so can leave Landlords open to prosecution. Ask us for assistance if you do not have a scheme as we can help.

Section 21 Notices Change

Section 21 (legal notices to quit on assured shorthold tenancies) is also changing to hopefully simplify the process. S.21(4)a has been the cause of confusion because it required a notice to be served on the last day of a period of the tenancy. That requirement is now removed and therefore a S21(1)b notice can be served at any time to give two months’ notice (plus two working days if posting) to fall on the last day of a fixed term tenancy or giving two months’ notice anytime thereafter.

I have seen courts throw out cases because of incorrect dates on these notices before and this can be very frustrating when a non-paying tenant then has an extra two months of non-payment before a Landlord can get possession of their property. This will apply to all AST tenancies and could mean that Landlords can get their property back sooner than previously.
In conclusion

I have covered a couple of the most important points in this update but there are a lot of other points which would take up pages to go over, so if you have concerns on this or any other regulatory issue please do not hesitate in contacting me.