Landlords, letting agents and property management companies

Several laws have been passed recently that affect landlords, letting agents and property management companies. We have set out some of them below and provided links to more detailed advice. The subjects covered are listed below:

New minimum energy efficiency standard

Since April 2018 a property that requires an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) can only be let on new tenancies, which includes renewals, if it has an EPC in band E or better. The law affects domestic and non-domestic premises, but trading standards only enforce it for the latter - premises like shops and offices.

Non-domestic premises

For existing tenancies in such premises, landlords have till 2023 to comply.

There are also many exemptions to the requirements. However, almost all require the landlord to register the exemption they are claiming with the government on the national PRS exemptions register.

Central government have provided guidance on the requirements, claiming an exemption, and an email address for the register. If you believe you can claim an exemption, follow the guide on how to do so, and email the address given, even though it is described as a pilot. See Private rented property minimum standard landlord guidance documents.

Landlords of property with an EPC in bands F and G should speak to an energy efficiency advisor about their options, but should also contact the planning department if their property is in a conservation area, as this will affect their options.

A landlord of a non-domestic property who needs advice in addition to the guidance, should contact the trading standards team:

Phone: 020 8753 1081
Email: trading.standards@lbhf.gov.uk

Domestic premises

The site mentioned above also has advice for landlords of domestic premises.

Tenants’ redress schemes

Letting agents and property management companies must join a tenants’ redress scheme, or face a penalty of up to £5,000. The following run approved schemes:

  • the Property Ombudsman
  • the Property Redress Scheme.

Restrictions on fees

The payments that landlords and agents can demand are now restricted. 

  • There are some obvious exceptions, such as rent or fees for utilities.
  • There are also some that are limited to specified amounts, such as deposits and charges for change of tenancy requested by the tenant.

This prohibition came into effect on 1 June 2019. If your agreement predates that, you can continue charging on the basis of the existing contract until 31 May 2020.

More information about the Tenant Fees Act 2019 is available on the GOV.UK website (pdf 749KB), including the impact breaches have on eviction proceedings, and the type of tenancies affected.

Tenancy deposit protection schemes

Landlords or letting agents must place a tenant’s deposit in a tenancy deposit protection scheme if the home is rented out on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007. There is more information about tenancy deposit protection scheme on the GOV.UK website.

General guidance

The Department for Communities and Local Government has also produced information for tenants and landlords:

Advice on consumer protection laws

There are other laws affecting traders in general, which also apply to agents. The Competition and Markets Authority publish Key Principles for Lettings Professionals (pdf 512KB), a quick guide to compliance with a broad range of consumer protection legislation, and a more detailed document, Lettings guidance CMA31 (pdf 966KB) to accompany the quick guide.

Model agreement for a shorthold assured tenancy

The Department for Communities and Local Government has produced a model agreement for a shorthold assured tenancy for use by landlords and agents. You are not obliged to use this, but you may find it useful.

Still unsure?

For further information please contact us on 020 8753 1081 or email trading.standards@lbhf.gov.uk

 Want to stay connected with H&F? Sign-up to the council
Advertisement