Legislation to protect tenants will increase demand for EPCs in the private rented sector
You will remember that Elmhurst Energy has already advised members of the change in Legislation which prevents landlords renting properties that have an EPC rating of F or G. Now a further piece of legislation has been introduced to prevent Landlords taking retaliatory action against tenants who request improvement which will also drive up the level of compliance for EPCs in the private rented sector.
Deregulation Act 2015
The sequence of change starts with the Deregulation Bill 2015.
The previous Government stated their commitment to removing Regulation and as part of this, introduced the Deregulation Bill into the House of Commons on 23 January 2014. The Bill received Royal Assent, becoming law, on 26 March 2015.
The Deregulation Act 2015, as it is now called, provides for the removal or reduction of burdens on businesses, civil society, individuals, public sector bodies and the taxpayer. These include measures relating to general and specific areas of business, companies and insolvency, the use of land, housing, transport, communications, the environment, education and training, entertainment and alcohol, public authorities and the administration of justice. In addition, the Act repeals legislation that is no longer of any practical use.
Of most interest to Elmhurst Members is Section 33 which makes significant changes to Section 21 of the Housing Act with the intent of preventing ‘retaliatory eviction’.
Housing Act 1988 Section 21
Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (as amended) allows a landlord to terminate an assured shorthold tenancy (‘AST’) after the fixed term has expired on giving 2 months’ notice with no element of tenant default required.
The Act then allows the landlord, if certain conditions have been adhered to, to then accelerate the possession procedure without the need of a court hearing. Providing the correct procedure has been followed, the Judge has little discretion not to grant possession.
The implications of change
Section 33 of the Deregulation Act effectively prevent the landlord from serving a section 21 notice until the landlord has complied with the relevant legal obligations (such as the condition of dwellings or their common parts, the health and safety of occupiers of dwellings, the energy performance of dwellings) and that information has been provided to the tenant.
When do the provisions apply?
Sections 33 of the 2015 Act apply to assured shorthold tenancies in England granted on or after 1st October 2015.
In essence, from October 2015 any landlord entering a short term tenancy will risk losing their right to issue an eviction notice under Section 21 if they themselves have not complied with all their legal obligations, including the provision of a current EPC for the rented property.
As with all legal matters Elmhurst Energy does recommend you seek formal legal advice before attempting to invoke or defend action that could be affected by this change in legislation.