If you're a landlord of an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) then you need to be aware of the changes which have been brought into effect by the Deregulation Act 2015 on 26 March 2015.
For all ASTs currently in existence, this new law sets out that all deposits now need to be protected and the prescribed information served but there are different sanctions that can be imposed on a landlord depending upon whether the AST was pre or post 6 April 2007. The most severe sanctions include a landlord being prevented from serving a section 21 Notice to regain possession until he does comply and/or a financial penalty including the return of the deposit and an amount totalling between one and three times the amount of the deposit payable to the tenant. This can run into the thousands.
Other notable changes relate to section 21 notices which now have a shelf life and will expire if not used within a set period of time. Landlords are also now unable to validly serve section 21 proceedings until 4 months have elapsed from the start of the AST.
Some good news for landlords is that section 21 notices for periodic tenancies no longer need to end on the last day of a period of the tenancy simplifying the drafting of such notices.
To prevent landlords from starting what have been termed "retaliatory eviction proceedings" however landlords are now prevented from serving section 21 notices within 6 months of receiving certain notices regarding the condition of the property from the local authority.
Landlords should also note that a new section 8 notice came into effect from 6 April 2015 and we strongly advise landlords not to rely on the old notice.
Whilst landlords will no doubt welcome the changes to the tenancy deposit rules which has reduced some of the burdens placed on them by recent case law, many of the other changes particularly to notices have placed burdens of a different kind on the landlords who will now need to get up to speed with yet more changes in this frequently evolving area of law.
For advice on these issues or any other matter contact our landlord and tenant experts on 0161 665 3502 and ask to speak to the General Litigation Team.
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