The Ministry of Housing and Local Communities have updated the ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England’ guide.
Landlords and Agents must provide tenants with the latest copy of the guide at the beginning of a tenancy. Landlords are not required to supply a further copy of the publication each time a different version is published during the tenancy.
Print the guide straight from the gov.uk website to ensure that you are providing the latest version to your tenant.
In relation to the Housing Act 1988, Section 21; the Form 6a is also expected to be updated.
The Tenant Fees Act 2019 has arrived (01 June 2019). SWLA landlord stationery and documents have been updated accordingly. You can print documents straight from the SWLA website ‘members area’ to ensure that you are using the most up to date version.
The ban applies to assured shorthold tenancies (except social housing or long leases), tenancies of student accommodation and licences to occupy housing in the private rented sector in England. Most tenancies in the private rented sector are assured shorthold tenancies.
You cannot require a tenant (or anyone acting on their behalf or guaranteeing their rent) to make certain payments in connection with a tenancy. You cannot require them to enter a contract with a third party or make a loan in connection with a tenancy.
From 1 June 2019, if you enter into a tenancy agreement, student let or licence to occupy housing in the private rented sector, you will be prohibited from charging any fees or other payments that are not included in the list of permitted payments.
Where a tenancy agreement was entered into before 1 June 2019, you will still be able to charge fees until 31 May 2020, but only where these are required under an existing tenancy agreement. After 1 June 2020, the term requiring that payment will no longer be binding. Should you, in error, ask a tenant to make such a payment, you should return the payment immediately and must return this within 28 days. If you do not return the payment within 28 days, you will be treated for the purposes of the Act as having required the tenant to make a prohibited payment (a payment that is outlawed under the ban). You do not need to return any amount of tenancy deposit that is over the cap for tenancy agreements that were entered into before the Tenant Fees Act came into force.
From 1 June 2020, the ban on fees will apply to all applicable tenancies. You will not be able to charge any fees after this date unless they are a permitted payment.
If the fee you are charging is not on this list, it is a prohibited payment and you should not charge it. A prohibited payment is a payment outlawed under the ban.
The only payments you can charge in connection with a tenancy are:
a) the rent
b) a refundable tenancy deposit capped at no more than five weeks’ rent where the annual rent is less than £50,000, or six weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above
c) a refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than one week’s rent
d) payments to change the tenancy when requested by the tenant, capped at £50, or reasonable costs incurred if higher
e) payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant
f) payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and council tax; and
g) A default fee for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device, where required under a tenancy agreement
More information/guidance for landlords on the Tenant Fee Ban can be found on the gov.uk website;
21 May 2019, Smith Square London
SWLA Vice Chair Iain Maitland attended the joint RLA/NLA hosted summit chaired by the crossbench peer The Earl of Lytton.
The summit was to agree a united Draft Blueprint for Reforms to Regulations Governing Repossession. Representatives of landlords amd letting agents met to;
When the agreed Draft Statement is finalised, SWLA will promulgate, lobby and encourage members to lobby to have the principles incorporated into any new legislation proposed in the wake of the abolition of the Section 21 Notice (often referred to as the ‘No Fault Eviction’).
Steve Lees (SWLA Chair) and Iain Maitland (SWLA Vice-Chair) met with Matt Garrett and Councillor Penberthy on Wednesday 22nd May to discuss the Private Rented Sector.
The bulk of the meeting covered discussion on the recent announcements of the government’s plans to abolish Section 21 (no fault) evictions. Prior to consultations taking place, Plymouth City Council will work with SWLA to understand the difficulties that landlords will face if Section 21s aren’t an option, also understanding what improvements need to be made in the Section 8 court process.
Other topics discussed included student accommodation in Plymouth, the possible effect of Brexit on the Private Rented Sector and HMO licencing.
The Home Office have released Brexit Guidance on Right to Rent.
Until 1 January 2021 EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will continue to be able to prove their right to rent in the UK as they do now, for example by showing their passport or national identity card.
There will be no change to the way EU, EEA and Swiss citizens prove their right to rent until 1 January 2021. This remains the same if the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal. Landlords do not need to check if new EEA and Swiss tenants arrived before or after the UK left the EU, or if they have status under the EU Settlement Scheme or European temporary leave to remain.
Landlords will not need to retrospectively check the status of EU, EEA or Swiss tenants or their family members who entered into a tenancy agreement before 1 January 2021.
Irish citizens will continue to have the right to rent in the UK and prove their right to rent as they do now, for example using their passport.
Landlords should continue to conduct right to rent checks on all prospective tenants to comply with the code of practice on illegal immigrants and private rented accommodation and the code of practice for landlords: avoiding unlawful discrimination.
As is currently the case, in order for a landlord to obtain a statutory excuse from a civil penalty when letting to the non-EEA family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, the prospective tenant will need to show Home Office issued documentation as set out in the legislation and guidance.
New guidance on how to carry out right to rent checks from 1 January 2021 will be issued at a later date.
For more information see the gov.uk guidance; https://www.gov.uk/guidance/right-to-rent-checks-for-eu-eea-and-swiss-citizens-after-brexit
A new version of Form 6a which is used to issue notice under Section 21 in England will be released on the 1st June 2019 to comply with the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act.
The changes are as follows;
Amendments have been made to ensure the form accurately reflects the restriction on terminating a tenancy where a prohibited payment has been made by the landlord and not returned to the tenant, or the holding deposit has not been returned/forwarded in accordance with the Tenant Fees Ban regulations.
An amendment has been made to provide more details on HMO licencing in relation to serving a Section 21 notice. No Section 21 notice may be given in relation to an assured shorthold tenancy of part of an unlicensed HMO whilst it remains unlicensed.
More information has been added for tenants regarding homelessness support services. The form provides a link to Government possession guidance and further information on bodies such as Citizens Advice and Shelter.
SWLA will update the ‘members stationery’ area on 1st June 2019 with the new form.
Whether you are a seasoned landlord, or a first time buyer, this event offers free advice on all aspects of letting property. SWLA will have a stand at the event, come along and see us if you are there!
Thursday 23 May 2019, 4.30pm to 8.30pm
Old Forde House, Brunel Road, Newton Abbot, TQ12 4XX – Free parking
For further information and to book your ticket;