If you are a landlord who operates one or more properties in York then it is likely you will want to know some of the following topics below.
Landlords liable for council tax even if the property is tenanted
In February 2016, a legal dispute named Leeds versus Broadley occurred where Leeds City Council were unable to reclaim council tax from a tenanted property as the tenant had not paid their council tax. The tenancy in question had lapsed into periodic status i.e. a monthly rolling contract. Rather than continuing to pursue the tenant, they decided to pursue Mr Broadley (the landlord) instead for the unpaid council tax, citing that whilst in general, with tenancies of six months or greater, the tenant is liable for the council tax, as with shorter terms i.e. tenancies under six months the landlord becomes liable.
Consequently, they argued that as a periodic tenancy runs month-by-month, it is not deemed as a long-term tenancy and as such the landlord should be held liable for the council tax. This case went all the way to the High Court and was eventually overruled in favour of Mr Broadley due to a specific clause in the original tenancy agreement which stipulated that, following the end of the fixed term, the tenancy would continue on a contractual periodic basis rather than lapse into statutory periodic status. The moral of the story is, you need to ensure there is a clause in your tenancy agreements that reflect this and/or make sure that, for any tenancies, the tenant signs a memorandum of renewal with this clause therein. For the specific wording, please private message me and I will forward you the clause to add (ex gratia).
De-regulation Act version 2.0
As at 1st October 2015, other than the mandatory requirements surrounding smoke alarms on each storey of a property and carbon monoxide detectors in ‘high risk’ zones, certain other provisions came into effect on new or renewed tenancies. These were as follows:
-In order to serve notice on your tenant/s should you require vacant possession, you need to have demonstrated that you had served the following documents on them:
– The Energy Performance Certificate
– A copy of the gas safety certificate
– The ‘How to Rent’ Checklist
The timeframe of a section 21 notice was also addressed. Landlords and Agents were no longer allowed to serve notice within the first 4 months of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and Section 21 notices had a ‘six-month shelf-life’.
From 1st October 2018, this will apply to all existing tenancies.
New Gas Safety regulations
Since April 2018, landlords have been able to have gas safety inspections (GSI) completed up to two months prior to the ‘deadline date’ (the date of expiry) without losing any time off the previous date. For instance, if you carried out a GSI 1st January 2018, you could carry out the subsequent GSI as early as 1st November 2018, and it will still be liable until 31st December 2019.
What this means for Landlords is no more having to leave the GSI to the week before the certificate expires and you now have two months grace in getting access with the tenant/s.
From 1st April 2018, the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) came into effect. Any building that is marketed for rent as a new tenancy or on renewal, needs to have an energy rating of ‘E’ or above. There are certain exemptions to this such as listed buildings but in any event, landlords take note, you must register an exemption to make it official. Furthermore, from April 2020, the above will apply to all tenancies including existing tenancies.
What does this mean for landlords? Well firstly, don’t panic. The EPC regulations came into force in 2008 so just check your Energy Performance Certificate which may be likely due for renewal. It may turn out that the EPC rating will have improved as assessors have changed their rating systems over the last ten years. If you find your property under the ‘E’ rating, you can follow the guidelines on the EPC to get the property up to spec.
HMO licensing update
The current state of affairs regarding licenced Houses of Multiple Occupation is a property rented to five individuals occupying two or more households over three or more storeys. From 1st October 2018, the storeys element will cease to form part of the licenced HMO guidelines. Furthermore, new room size regulations have been announced as follows:
A sleeping room for one adult must measure at least 6.51 sq/m.
Sleeping arrangements for two adults should be no smaller than 10.22 sq/m.
Rooms for children up to 10 years old must have an area of 4.64 sq/m or more.
If you require assistance or advice on any of the above please drop me an email or drop me a line on 07775 828759 for some free no obligation advice.