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Assured Shorthold Tenancies - Important Changes

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From 1st October 2015, residential tenants must be given additional information. Landlords who fail to comply could face serious sanctions.

The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 were laid before Parliament on 9 September 2015. They will come into force on 1 October 2015.

The Regulations prescribe a new form of notice for ending an assured shorthold tenancy under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (‘section 21 notice’).

They also provide that a landlord cannot serve a section 21 notice unless it has complied with its obligations to provide to the tenant with:

  • An energy performance certificate
  • A copy of a gas safety certificate
  • The Department for Communities and Local Government's booklet, "How to rent: the checklist for renting in England".

The new rules will apply to Assured Shorthold Tenancies granted on or after 1 October 2015. The changes apply in England only.

In practice this means that landlords who fail to comply with the new requirements will not be able to rely on the section 21 notice in possession proceedings. The notice will not be valid if the prescribed information has not been provided to the tenant.

Landlords are reminded that they must also comply with the requirement to protect the tenant’s deposit under a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Again, a section 21 notice will not be valid if the deposit has not been protected.

Further regulations are being introduced requiring landlords to install smoke alarms on each storey of the premises and carbon monoxide alarms in each room containing a solid fuel burning appliance. Failure to do so may lead to the local authority issuing remedial notices requiring the alarms to be installed and failure to comply may lead to heavy fines.

To help you through these changes and to ensure you stay on the right side of the law, contact a member of our Dispute Resolution Team.