Find out the latest news and announcements in the Private Rented Sector.
Understanding the possession action process - updated guidance
The Government has released updated guidance for landlords and tenants, both private and social rental, to help understand the possession action process following on from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The guidance is to help landlords and tenants alike, understand their rights and responsibilities should possession action take place at any point. It sets out details on each stage of the process, as well as giving advice to help tenants and private landlords resolve common disputes without the need for court action. (Article published 14 September 2021)
Right to Rent checks
The Government has now deferred the end date of the temporary adjusted checks until 5 April 2022.
Specifically, this means the continuation of the online video identity checks and digital or scanned copies of Right to Rent documentation being acceptable. Read the full update on the Government website. (Article published 6 September 2021)
HMO enforcement in Dacorum
The latest House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Regulations, laid out by the Government in October 2018, gave us a new and updated definition of what a HMO is.
These changes have seen our team license a large number of properties that were not licensed before, due to the older definition. As of July 2021, our team have licensed a total 104 properties throughout Dacorum.
Due to the success of the licensing scheme, our team can now focus some of their attention on identifying properties that are acting as HMOs without a licence. To help with this, we commissioned a stock condition survey early last year (2020), which highlighted potential non-licensed HMOs. Our team are investigating these properties to work with the landlords to ensure they become compliant and safe for tenants to occupy. This way, tenants can rent with peace of mind.
The current regulations have helped us to tackle poor standards, migration and other problems caused by non-compliant landlords. Anyone operating a licensable HMO without a licence (or a valid application for a licence) is committing an offence and will be liable to prosecution. The fine for such an offence could be a maximum of £30,000. This can be accompanied with an extra fee when applying for an application for the property.
If you need some guidance or have any questions regarding HMO licensing, email our team at email@example.com or visit our HMO page. (Article published 3 August 2021.)
Fire Safety Act 2021
This Fire Safety Act 2021 - which aims to improve fire safety in multi-occupancy domestic premises following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June 2017 - has been passed into law. Parts of the new Act don't come into force immediately, instead gradually over the next few months.
This new Act - which amends the Fire Safety Order 2005 (FSO) - will work alongside the Building Safety Act (BSA) when it comes into force. The BSA bill has not yet been discussed by Parliament. More information will be provided as and when it becomes available.
We recommend that responsible persons under the FSO should review their Fire Risk Assessments to ensure that they cover the external façade and individual entrance doors and align with the new Act. If needed, changes should be made. Read the Fire Safety Act in full on the Government website. (Article published 27 May 2021.)
Eviction notice periods reduced
Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, the eviction notice period that landlords had to give tenants was two months. This was upped to six months as an emergency measure during the pandemic. However, as COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease, it has been announced that this is being reduced to four months from 1 June 2021. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has said that this will remain in place until at least October.
In addition, the current ban on bailiff-enforced evictions, introduced as an emergency measure during lockdown, is set to end on 31 May 2021. Bailiffs have been asked not to carry out an eviction if anyone living in the property has COVID-19 symptoms or is self-isolating. Find out more about these changes on the Government website. (Article published 27 May 2021.)
Electrical safety regulations
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on 1 July 2020. For the first nine months, the standards only applied to most new tenancies, but from 1 April 2021 they will encompass both new and existing tenancies.
The Electrical Safety Regulations require landlords to:
- Ensure that the electrical safety standards are met during any period of a tenancy.
- Have the electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested by a person who is qualified and competent, at least every five years, or more frequently if the most recent report requires this.
- Provide a copy of the report (known as the Electrical Safety Condition Report or EICR) to their tenants, and to the local authority if requested.
- Carry out investigative or remedial works when required by the EICR requires.
For more information on the new regulations, please see the Government website. (Article published 29 March 2021)
Fire safety guidance
For more information on recommended fire safety provisions for HMOs in Hertfordshire, including 2019 revisions, please read the Guide to Fire Safety in Houses in Multiple Occupation (PDF 2MB). (Article published 6 November 2020)
Green Homes Grants
The Government’s new Green Homes Grant scheme is aimed at homeowners, including landlords. The scheme provides the chance to get a voucher worth up to £5,000 to pay up to two thirds of the cost of energy-saving measures in the home. Find out more about Green Homes Grants. (Article published 14 October 2020.)
Electrical safety standards
Following on from concerns over electrical faults in the Private Rented Sector, the Government reviewed the current legislation that protects tenants from this hazard. The conclusion of the review was to produce The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. This is a statute that requires the landlord to evidence that the electrical installation in the property has been maintained and is safe. Find out more: Electrical Safety Standards (PDF 796KB). (Article published 2 September 2020.)
Who we are
Find out more about our Private Sector Housing team and what our responsibilities and commitments are: Private Sector Housing Team - Who we are (PDF 535KB). (Article published 30 July 2020.)
Tenant Fees Act 2019
This Act came into force on 1 June 2019 as a move by central government to regulate fees and deposits imposed by landlords and letting agents in the Private Rented Sector. The Act details fees that are permissible to be charged. This applies to Assured Short Term lettings to tenants under new contracts from the aforementioned date and to existing tenancies from 1 June 2020. Find out more: Tenant Fees Act 2019 (PDF 531KB)
. (Article published 23 July 2020.)
Minimum energy efficiency standards
As the housing market starts moving again, landlords should check that their privately rented property has a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) with a minimum energy rating of E. A valid EPC is required when a property is let or sold. EPCs expire after 10 years and we recommend you check the date on the certificate.
Since April 2020, all new and existing private sector tenancies should have an EPC with a minimum energy rating of E. The minimum rating is set to increase to a D by 2025 and a C by 2030.
For further information, please see the government guidance for landlords. For help and advice on improving the energy rating of your property, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. (Article published 23 July 2020.)