The regulatory environment for the private rented sector is being tightened.Nick Barnes, Head of Research
Buy-to-let landlords face a possible raft of new regulations which will impact upon their businesses. The key measures are as follows:
Landlord registration and licensing: After 1 April 2015 local councils will no longer be able to licence landlords across a whole borough or city without prior permission. Councils will now require government approval before implementing a licensing scheme if they plan to license a large proportion of the market.
Energy efficiency standards: from April 2016, tenants will be able to request consent for energy efficiency measures that may not unreasonably be refused by the landlord. From April 2018, all privately rented properties where new leases are granted will be required to attain a minimum EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating of E. From April 2020, all privately rented residential properties will need to attain a minimum EPC rating of E.
The Landlord's Energy Saving Allowance will no longer be available after 31 March 2015 for corporate landlords and after April 2015 for unincorporated landlords of let residential properties.
Revenge evictions: new legislation designed to prevent retaliatory eviction by landlords against tenants where they have a legitimate complaint is expected to be implemented by October 2015.
Subletting: the Budget 2015 Red Book announced proposals to "make it easier for individuals to sub-let a room through its intention to legislate to prevent the use of clauses in private fixed-term residential tenancy agreements that expressly rule out sub-letting or otherwise sharing space on a short-term basis, and consider extending this prohibition to statutory periodic tenancies." Depending on the Election outcome, this may or may not be progressed.
Tenant deposit protection: the Government has clarified tenant deposit protection legislation in response to recent court cases involving landlords withholding tenant deposits. As a result, where landlords took a deposit prior to the introduction of the tenancy deposit protection legislation on 6 April 2007 in respect of a tenancy which rolled over into a statutory periodic tenancy on or after that date they will have a period of 90 days from the date of Royal Assent (26th March 2015) to protect