Before 1st October 2015, landlords could evict tenants using a section 21. The only formalities; compliance with deposit regulations and correct wording in section 21.
From 1st October 2015 regulations have come into force which affect the no-fault section 21 eviction rules. New measures prevent landlords evicting tenants simply because they complain about disrepairs.
This additional safeguard for tenants can present landlords and agents with surplus challenges. It gives tenants and their legal advisors loopholes which can jeopardise an eviction process if they are so minded. It is vital that landlords understand these new rules to safeguard their investment.
Tenants should rightly expect to receive good quality accommodation, and to have necessary repairs carried out within a reasonable time.
However, there are still a small number of rogue landlords who knowingly rent out unsafe and substandard accommodation.
The new regulations mean that were a tenant makes a legitimate complaint about the condition of their property, the landlord has a duty to investigate and repair if necessary. Previously, tenants may have made a complaint and the responds with an eviction notice.
So, if a tenant makes a genuine complaint about the condition of the property to the landlord, and he ignores it, the tenant can approach the local authority who can serve notice on the landlord to repair. If this happens, the landlord cannot evict that tenant for 6 months via section 21 and, the landlord has a duty to complete the repairs.
The new rules allow tenants greater security than before. Tenants can now make reasonable complaints about the property without fear that they will be evicted as a result. The kind of complaints to which these regulations apply concern serious issues that may cause potential harm to the health or safety of the tenant. This could include things such as leaks in the property, or an issue with the heating.
Things such as a dripping tap or blown light bulb would not be covered by these new rules. The regulations are targeted at those landlords who ignore complaints and then attempt to evict the tenant in response to the complaint.
The tenant should report the complaint as soon as possible and the landlord then has 14 days to respond. If the landlord does not respond, or provides inadequate solution, the tenant can approach the local authority to carry out an inspection. If this inspection verifies the complaint, the inspector will take appropriate action.
There are some exceptions; if the property is genuinely on the market for sale, if the property is subject to a mortgage repossession order or if it can be shown that the tenant caused the disrepair.
The rules apply to all new tenancies that start on or after 1st October 2015.
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