The Deregulation Act 2015 is now in force, with several important changes for lettings agents and landlords. Brady Solicitors’ Lydia Anderson takes a look at the detail.
Section 21 notices – timing is now critical
The Deregulation Act 2015 now prohibits a landlord from serving a Section 21 notice within the first four months of an assured shorthold tenancy agreement. This gives the tenant the same six month security of tenure but, for a landlord who wishes to regain possession at the end of the six months, it means the timing of the S.21 notice needs to be spot on in order to provide the required two months’ notice.
Tenancy deposits – action required by 23 June 2015
For tenancy deposits received before 6 April 2007, landlords now have until 23 June 2015 to protect the deposit and provide the tenant with the prescribed information, or face a potential fine. Prior to the Deregulation Act 2015, the position was unclear for deposits received before 6 April 2007 and where the fixed term tenancy had subsequently become a statutory periodic tenancy after this date.
The Act does not however make any change to deposits taken before 6 April 2007 and where the tenancy had also become a statutory periodic tenancy by the same date. The current position remains therefore that whilst these deposits do not have to be protected, no Section 21 Notice can served until they are.
For deposits received after 6 April 2007 there is no change. So long as the landlord has already correctly followed the registration of the tenancy deposit scheme requirements for the original tenancy, they will be deemed as having complied.
The end to ‘retaliatory’ evictions?
This element of The Deregulation Act 2015 seeks to protect a tenant from retaliatory eviction following a legitimate complaint about the condition of their property.
The Act sets out three conditions where a Section 21 notice would be deemed invalid:
- The tenant has made a written complaint to their landlord about the condition of their property.
- The landlord failed to respond adequately within 14 days.
- The tenant referred the complaint to their local authority, which confirmed that work is needed to prevent a health and safety risk.
On the flipside, the Act also aims to make it easier to evict tenants where it is appropriate to do so, for example, because of non-payment of rent or anti-social behaviour.
The legislation around retaliatory evictions will come into force in October 2015.
Specialist landlord and tenant solicitors
If you are a landlord or letting agent needing help or advice on a legal query, contact the Brady Solicitors team on 0115 985 3450 or by email.