Negotiating the complex world of landlord and tenancy laws
What to look out for and how Direct Line for Business can help
Residential tenancy laws change frequently and often with little notice. In the last two years alone, new rules have been introduced covering retaliatory evictions, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and ‘right to rent’ immigration checks on new tenants.
In addition, changes to the wording of existing documents are common. For example, there have been four separate changes to the required wording for notices under section 8 of the Housing Act within the last couple of years. These notices are crucial when your tenant stops paying rent; if you issue a tenant with a notice using the wrong wording then you could face a lengthy delay in getting your property back. Furthermore, the wording of the section 21 notice, needed by any landlord wanting to end an assured shorthold tenancy, has also seen changes.
It isn’t just legislation that landlords need to keep an eye on; the results of court cases can often muddy the waters. A couple of recent cases, Edwards v Kumarasamy, 2016 and Southwark London Borough Council v Akhtar, 2017, for example, have created uncertainty around when to give notices of disrepair in the former case and how to serve notice correctly in the latter.
You’ll also need to be aware that the legal positions in different parts of the UK continue to diverge; Wales recently saw the introduction of mandatory landlord registration and licensing, and no longer matches England in its requirements for the wording of Housing Act notices. Things will look even more different after the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 takes effect sometime in 2018. Scotland meanwhile will introduce significant changes this December with the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016, which will effectively replace Short Assured Tenancies with a new model tenancy agreement that includes mandatory clauses.
How can you keep up with all these changes and ensure your interests are protected?
As a Direct Line for Business landlord policyholder you get access to our Legal Documents Service as standard, which allows you to complete all the documents necessary to stay on the right side of landlord and tenancy laws.
We keep a close eye on all the regulatory changes, so you can be sure you are using the most up-to-date version of the document you need. For extra peace of mind, you can always get one of our solicitors to check a document you’ve prepared using our system to make sure it’s right for your situation. We also regularly introduce new and helpful guides and documents. Recent additions include our rent increase documents, Notice under section 13 of the Housing Act and the Rent Increase Agreement.
So, make sure you regularly login to the Legal Documents Service to keep abreast of changes to regulations and ensure you are using the latest template for tenancy agreements or notices. If you’re using old templates, you may not be compliant with the law and face a number of risks.
Getting started is easy
Simply click here to login or, if you’ve not done so already, register to use the service. If registering for the first time, you’ll need your Direct Line for Business policy number to hand to complete the short registration process.
Once registered, you’ll not only get access to documents, but also to jargon-free online guides covering a wide range of legal subjects. Plus, for extra peace of mind, you can even send the documents you create through the service to our firm of solicitors who can check and, if necessary, make changes within three working days.
Remember, you can use our Legal Documents Service as often as you need to.