Guidance for the private rented sector
Businesses must join a redress scheme if they are:
an estate agent dealing with residential properties in the UK
a letting agent or property manager in England or Wales
If a consumer has a complaint about your service that cannot be resolved between yourselves, they can complain to the scheme. The approved redress schemes are:
Individuals and businesses can be fined up to £5000 and have their licence revoked if they do not join a redress scheme.
Tenancy deposit protection
A landlord must put a deposit in government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) if you rent your home on an assured short-hold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007. In England and Wales, your deposit can be registered with:
MyDeposits - Including deposits that were held by Capita
The schemes make sure that consumers get their deposit back if:
meet the terms of the tenancy agreement
don't damage the property
pay your rent and bills
The landlord must put the deposit in one of the schemes within 30 days of receiving it.
At the end of the tenancy
The landlord must return the deposit within 10 days of the agreement on how much the tenant will get back. If the tenant is in dispute with your landlord, then the deposit will be protected in the TDP scheme until the issue is sorted out.
Tenant Fees Act 2019
The Tenant Fees Act 2019 sets out the approach to banning letting fees paid by tenants in the private rented sector and capping tenancy deposits in England. The Act came into force on the 1 June 2019.
The aim of the Act is to reduce the costs that tenants can face at the outset, and throughout, a tenancy, and is part of a wider package of measures aimed at rebalancing the relationship between tenants and landlords. Tenants will be able to see at glance, what a given property will cost them in the advertised rent with no hidden costs. The party that contracts the service- the landlord - will be responsible for paying for the service, which will help to ensure that the fees charged reflect the costs of the services provided.
The only payments that can be charged for in connection with a tenancy are:
a) the rent
b) a refundable tenancy deposit, capped at no more than five week's rent where the annual rent is less than £50,000, or six week's rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above
c) a refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than one week's rent
d) payments to change the tenancy when requested by the tenant, capped at £50, or reasonable costs incurred if higher
e) payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant
f) payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and council tax, and
g) a default fee for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device, where required under a tenancy agreement.
Energy Performance Certificates
Minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) were introduced by the government in 2011. The legislation prohibits landlords from renting out properties with an Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) rated F or G.
Phase one of MEES came into force on 1 April 2018, meaning that it has been unlawful to let properties to new tenants with an EPC rating below an E rating since that date. Phase two was introduced in April 2019, meaning landlords have to demonstrate it would cost more than £3,500 to improve the property to the minimum E rating before letting to a new tenant. From April 2020 all existing tenancies will be held to the same standards.
The regulations were introduced to improve the quality of private rented buildings in England and Wales and to increase the energy efficiency of the worst performing houses and buildings. In addition, these regulations aim to improve the comfort and conditions in private rented homes and reduce fuel poverty.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC's) are needed whenever a property is:
Before the property is marketed to sell or rent, a EPC for potential buyers and tenants must be ordered. An EPC contains:
information about a property's energy use and typical energy costs
recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money
An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years.
How to get an EPC
If you are selling or renting out your home you will need to employ an accredited assessor. The person employed will assess the property and produce a certificate.
The landlord can be fined if you don't get a EPC when you need one. The person selling the house, the landlord or the letting agent must show the consumer the EPC if buying or renting.
Building that don't need an EPC
places of worship
temporary buildings that will be used for less than 2 years
stand-alone buildings with total useful floor space of less than 50 square metres
industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings that don't use a lot of energy
some buildings that are due to be demolished
holiday accommodation that's rented out for less than 4 months a year or is let out under a licence
residential buildings intended to be used less than 4 months a year
The related legislation: the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012. (SI 2012 No. 3118) and the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015 No. 962).
For more information go to our website MEES
There is significant and important product safety legislation which has a direct impact on many products that may be supplied within the private rented housing sector. Information on the various legislative requirements can be found at Business Companion.
Regulation of Property Agents Working Group - Final Report
On the 18 July 2019 the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group, Chaired by Lord Best released its final report. The working group was tasked with advising the Government on the way forward on a new approach to the regulation of property agents. The approach that has been recommended, includes proposals for:
the scope of a new system of regulation,
a new licensing regime,
a framework for codes of practice,
transparency an use of leasehold and freehold charges,
the set-up, functions and relationships of a new regulator; and,
assurance and enforcement under the new system.
To see a copy of the full report go to Gov.uk
Trading Standards service, Directorate of Operations and Regulatory Services, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH. Phone: (0191) 2116121. Email: email@example.com