Keeping up with all the rules for buy-to-let landlords can be tricky due to the frequency that they are updated – particularly as we have seen during the pandemic. However, failure to follow the rules can result in fines, legal troubles and the loss of some of your rights as a landlord. So, it’s crucial to stay informed. Here are some updates to rules and regulations you should be up to speed with.
ELECTRICAL SAFETY STANDARDS
From 1 April 2021, new electrical safety regulations apply to all privately rented properties in the UK.
In summary, landlords are required to:
• Have all electrical installations professionally inspected and tested every five years
• Provide a copy of the inspection report to the property’s tenants within 28 days
• Provide a copy of the report to any new tenants that move in before the next inspection
• Provide a copy of the report to any potential new tenants who request one, within 28 days
• Provide a copy of the report to your local authority, if requested, within 7 days
• Keep a copy of the report to provide to the next inspector and tester
• Rectify any issues identified in the inspection report within 28 days, or less if specified
• Provide written confirmation of the completion of any repairs to the property’s tenants and the local authority within 28 days
RIGHT TO RENT CHECKS
Since March 2020, right to rent checks have taken place over video calls and using scanned copies of identification documents. This changed on 1 September 2021, when landlords will need to return to conducting the checks in person. From this date, you must now also check each tenant’s original documents, rather than copies, or use a tenant’s share code to check their right to rent online. There have also been recent, Brexit-related changes to right to rent checks. According to the latest process, for all EU, EEA and Swiss citizens, you should use the online checking service, which requires a share code.
EVICTION NOTICE PERIODS
As things stand, notice periods will return to pre-pandemic levels. Eviction notice periods have changed again recently, having been extended during the pandemic. If you are following the Section 21 process (for repossession of a property after the end of a tenancy, or during a rolling tenancy), from 1 October 2021 onwards you must now give a notice period of two months. If you are following the Section 8 process (for early repossession of a property for allowable reasons, such as rent arrears), from 1 October 2021 onwards the notice period will also be two months. This can be cut shorter in certain circumstances, such as in evictions due to antisocial behaviour.