AST RULES: Landlords who rent out property in the United Kingdom must now provide their tenants with:
- A government factsheet titled ‘How to Rent: the checklist for renting in England’ [details below].
- A valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and gas safety certificate.
- Tenancy deposit prescribed information (within 30 days of receipt of the payment).
The new regulations are extra and amended requirements. They are part of the new rules for assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs).
Failure to provide the required information to a tenant may prevent a landlord from serving a valid Section 21 notice. Landlords use this type of notice to get possession at the end of a rental period.
So, appending a signed factsheet, gas safety certificate, and energy performance certificate to an AST agreement at the start of a rental term is a wise move for all landlords to follow.
Factsheet: How to Rent Out Your Home
The ‘how to rent’ guide is for people who are looking to rent a property (e.g. a house or a flat). Even so, always check the most current version on the government website at GOV.UK.
Some of the important issues that the ‘HM Government Checklist for Renting in England‘ covers, include:
- Assured shorthold tenancy agreements and what to be aware of before renting.
- Living in a rented home and the obligations for tenants and landlords.
- What happens at the end of a fixed tenancy period (e.g. how to extend it).
- What you should do if things go wrong and what legal protections are in place.
Note: Following these instructions will help you to avoid any future complications. For example, having to prove that, as the landlord, you did in fact provide the required information to your tenant.
Assured Shorthold Tenancies
An assured shorthold tenancy (AST) is one of the most common tenancy types drawn up between landlords and tenants. Signing it means you are entering into a contractual and binding arrangement.
It gives a tenant and a landlord some important rights. But, it also means both parties have some responsibilities to comply with.
The guide helps you understand what questions to ask – and what rights you have! The factsheet clarifies what obligations both parties have.
It also helps to create a positive relationship between the tenant and the landlord. It is important to know how, and where, to get help if things start to go wrong.
In fact, renting out a property can sometimes feels like you need to make a quick decision. But, you should never sign any documents until you have had enough time to think about the implications.
So, landlords must provide their tenants with a copy of the official booklet. It allows property renters to use the checklist, keep it safe, and get protection from problems at each stage of the process.
New Law Protects Tenant Fees
A new law – called the ‘Tenant Fees Act‘ – came into force on the 1st of June 2019. The primary aim is to protect tenants from unfair letting fees and end unnecessary fees imposed by landlords and agents.
It will see tenancy deposits capped at five (5) weeks of rent at the start of a tenancy. It gives renters the assurance that a legal process means their landlord cannot expect them to pay more than this amount to secure a property (where total annual rent is under £50,000).
The new Tenant Fees Act should help to put back some of the hard-earned cash into the pockets of renters – instead of landlords.
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