We thought it would be useful to provide a summary of upcoming legislation in 2018 affecting landlords and agents. This will be useful for our own use as a reminder for dates and articles too!
It’s quite a busy year coming up but some of the legislation in the pipeline and on this page may not be in force until next year.
The list only includes legislation which is or could come into force this year (although some may be next year). The headings indicate a brief title, commencement date if known and application (England or Wales).
- 1 Electronic payment charges – 13 January 2018 – England and Wales
- 2 How to Rent Guide – 17 January 2018 – England only
- 3 Minimum Energy Levels Regulations (MEES) – 1 April 2018 – England and Wales
- 4 Homeless Reduction Act 2017 – 3 April 2018 – England (mostly)
- 5 Gas Safety (Installation and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 – 6 April 2018 (or 1 April – conflicting information) – England and Wales
- 6 General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) – 25 May 2018 – England and Wales
- 7 Deregulation Act 2015 – 1 October 2018 – England only
- 8 Houses in Multiple Occupation and Residential Property Licensing Reforms – 1 October 2018 – England only
- 9 Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability of Housing Standards). – date to be announced – England only
- 10 5 Yearly Electrical Safety Checks – date to be announced – England only
- 11 Banning Orders – date to be announced – England only
- 12 Ban of Tenant Fees – date to be announced – England only
- 13 Private Landlords (Registration) Bill – date to be announced – England only
- 14 Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 – date to be announced – Wales only
Electronic payment charges – 13 January 2018 – England and Wales
Not something we have written about but a quick note that surcharges for certain electronic payments are prohibited from 13 January 2018.
If a landlord or agent takes rent or deposit (or any other sums) via debit cards, credit cards, mobile phone-based based payments or other electronic payments such as PayPal, they must not add a surcharge for that means of payment.
How to Rent Guide – 17 January 2018 – England only
The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) has published a new How to Rent The checklist for renting in England, commonly referred to as the How to Rent Guide.
This booklet must be provided to assured shorthold tenants whose tenancy started or was renewed from 17 January 2018 onwards.
Our Tenancy Builder has been updated and includes the up to date version.
Minimum Energy Levels Regulations (MEES) – 1 April 2018 – England and Wales
From 1 April 2018, any building which is to be rented on a new tenancy or a renewal, must have a minimum energy rating of “E”.
From 1 April 2020, the minimum level “E” applies to all tenancies – including existing.
There are a number of exemptions available and if one of those exemptions apply, the property must be registered on the National PRS Exemptions Register.
Homeless Reduction Act 2017 – 3 April 2018 – England (mostly)
The Homeless Reduction Act 2017 may provide assistance for landlords and tenants in respect of homelessness applications. Of particular note is a new specific reference to a tenant being threatened with homelessness after a valid section 21 notice has been served.
The Homelessness code of guidance for local authorities has been published by MHCLG (link is to most relevant chapter).
Gas Safety (Installation and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 – 6 April 2018 (or 1 April – conflicting information) – England and Wales
We reported on the consultation here. The Gas Safety Regulations are being amended and of particular interest is an improvement in flexibility for landlords and agents when obtaining a gas safety record. Our article explaining in detail the gas safety changes here.
Basically, a landlord will be able to have a gas safety record completed up to 2 months before the “deadline date” and the following record will not need to be from 12 months of the last check but instead the deadline date will remain for the following year. This allows landlords to get gas safety records completed up to two months earlier and not be penalised.
More information about this and the other changes being made can also be found on the HSE website.
General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) – 25 May 2018 – England and Wales
From 25 May 2018, significant changes are being made to Data Protection rules.
We are currently working on an article which should be published within the next couple of weeks.
The changes will require you to audit what information about people you hold, what you do with it and how long it is retained.
Any processing of data based upon consent (e.g. sales and marketing) will significantly change and any consents obtained will need to be granular and opt-in.
Deregulation Act 2015 – 1 October 2018 – England only
The provisions as outlined below that came into effect for England on 1 October 2015 will apply to all tenancies from 1 October 2018 – not just new tenancies or renewals:
- The requirement to have given an EPC in order to serve section 21 notice
- The requirement to have given a gas safety record in order to serve section 21 notice
- Use of new section 21 notice (form 6A)
- No longer need to expire section 21 “after last day of a period”
- Section 21 cannot be served for first four months and can no longer be used from six months after service
- Apportioned rent rules after service of section 21 notice
- Retaliatory eviction provisions
Note that the providing of the How to Rent Guide is excluded from the list and is not required for tenancies before 1 October 2015 unless renewed after.
Houses in Multiple Occupation and Residential Property Licensing Reforms – 1 October 2018 – England only
Our article here. Any property with 5 or more occupiers and all those occupiers are not related to one another will require an HMO licence irrespective of the number of storeys. Currently, there would need to be 3 storeys in addition to the 5 or more occupiers to require a licence.
Furthermore, draft minimum room size regulations have now been published. The following minimum room sizes in an HMO are likely to be applied in a HMO which requires a mandatory licence:
- a sleeping room for one adult must measure at least 6.51 square metres
- two adults should be no smaller than 10.22 square metres
- rooms for children up to 10 years old must have an area of 4.64 square metres or more.
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability of Housing Standards). – date to be announced – England only
Our article here. The purpose of the Bill is:
To amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to require that residential rented accommodation is provided and maintained in a state of fitness for human habitation; to amend the Building Act 1984 to make provision about the liability for works on residential accommodation that do not comply with Building Regulations; and for connected purposes.
The Bill has received cross-party support and is now at the committee stage (date to be announced).
5 Yearly Electrical Safety Checks – date to be announced – England only
Our article here. Provision has been made under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 for electrical safety checks to be carried out at a yet to be specified interval and conducted by yet to be specified qualified persons.
Currently, it’s a requirement to carry out 5 yearly electrical checks on HMOs but this new legislation would require it on all specified private rented properties.
Banning Orders – date to be announced – England only
Also, a provision under the Housing and Planning Act 2016, banning orders will be introduced for offences committed in England.
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 (Banning Order Offences) Regulations 2017 which define the offences is still in draft form but offences that could result in a banning order include (but not limited to):
- Unlawful eviction and harassment of occupier
- Failing to comply with certain HHSRS notices
- Offences relating to HMO licensing
- Failing to comply with HMO Management Regulations
- Fire safety offences
- Immigration Act offences
- Fraud, theft, burglary, handling stolen goods, drug offences
- Proceeds of crime offences
Ban of Tenant Fees – date to be announced – England only
Our article here. A draft Bill has been published and has received general support. If brought in as is, the draft essentially bans all fees in respect of granting, renewing or extending a tenancy except charges that may be made under the Bill (e.g. rent, deposit and a holding deposit).
It’s also proposed that a deposit will be limited to up to six weeks rent and a holding deposit of one weeks rent is proposed to be allowed.
Although included here, it’s more likely to be next year rather than this year but no date has been announced.
Private Landlords (Registration) Bill – date to be announced – England only
The Private Landlords (Registration) Bill was introduced to Parliament on 17 January 2018 under the Ten Minute Rule. This allows an MP to make the case for a new bill in a speech lasting up to ten minutes.
The Bill is scheduled to have its second reading on 27 April 2018 but it’s unclear as to how much support there is. No text has been produced as yet.
Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 – date to be announced – Wales only
The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 will introduce significant changes when renting property in Wales.
The main parts of the Act which will directly affect landlords and agents are yet to be put in force and no date has yet been announced although it’s not going to be before Autumn this year. Most of the secondary legislation needed is in consultation or draft phase.
The Act will radically change almost every aspect of renting in Wales. There will be a new Occupation Contract replacing assured shorthold tenancies (and other types of tenancy). Possession notices will radically change as will many other elements.
In addition, many of the provisions already in England will be brought in to Wales by the Act such as retaliatory evictions, fitness for human habitation, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and more.
We await more detail from secondary legislation.