This entry is part 11 of 12 in the series It's All Change On 1st October 2015

We’re Ready For The Big Rented Property Changes From 1 October 2015

Over the last few days, we have been altering our documents as needed to be ready for the 1 October changes. In addition, we have added a couple of new documents to make the whole process much easier and hopefully prevent problems in the future.

What’s new?

Firstly, we have added the brand new prescribed section 21 form. However, there are legal errors in the form and it is our understanding a new one is being produced for publication. Update: a new form has been published and ours has been updated. As the form can’t be used until at least 1 February 2016, it doesn’t really matter and no doubt the change will be very simple to make. We will await the government to make the changes and edit ours accordingly. The form will be added to our possession notice wizard and ready when necessary.

Next, we have added a new document checklist. Because of all the documents that must be provided – which if not could seriously affect possession via the section 21 route, it is essential a landlord (or agent) is able to quickly prove all the documents were given to the tenant at the beginning of the tenancy. The confirmation checklist lists all documents provided and seeks the tenant’s confirmation.

Finally under the ‘new’ section, we have added a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm test certificate. This is a very quick and simple form to complete and only requires the name of the person who checked the alarm(s) and the date of the certificate. Under the new rules, the smoke and CO alarm(s) must be checked on the day the tenancy begins. They can be tested by the landlord or by any person acting on behalf of the landlord such as an agent, inventory clerk or fire specialist for example.

What’s changed?

All our residential tenancy agreements except the lodger agreement have been changed –

They have all had similar changes dependent on requirements. All have had added a new service of documents by e-mail option which, if landlord and tenant are content, the e-mail addresses are inserted. If not content, simply enter “none” and regular post or hand delivery will be the method of service.

We have also further clarified to assist with the new carbon monoxide rules that no solid fuel must be burned inside the dwelling without prior written consent. There is no harm in the landlord giving consent it’s just that such a request to burn solid fuel will trigger the requirement to fit a CO detector.

Also, we have incorporated the how to rent guide issued by DCLG which must by law be provided from 1 October 2015 in England. Update: all tenancies have been further updated on 1 October 2015 with the brand new how to rent guide which was published on the morning of 1 October.

All the new documents such as the document checklist and smoke alarm test certificate have been incorporated into all the tenancy agreements so there is no need to download them separately. Whilst we were on, we have now added the legionella guidance too.

Our latest update on 1 October 2015 has also made our tenancy agreements a “home business tenancy” which will allow landlords to give consent for a “home business” safely with the knowledge that there will be no problems with long term security of tenure.

Finally, our application for accommodation has had a new question added under the e-mail box which asks if the prospective tenant is content for documents and notices to be served in connection with the tenancy by email. Selecting will allow the landlord or agent to know what to insert into the tenancy agreement.

Website guidance

There are too many articles to mention but we have been going through all our primary guidance and articles and all have been amended to reflect the October changes. Hopefully we have caught them all but if you spot anything wrong with an old article, please do let us know.

Wales

All these changes only apply to England but we have decided for the time being to use the same tenancy agreements for England and Wales. The reason is, we already have 5 different tenancies to choose from so adding a new Wales option would make this 10 to choose from and it gets too confusing. For clients in Wales, the guidance has been amended instructing what can be removed but basically only the how to rent guide should be removed. The other additions are useful documents regardless of England or Wales.

There will come a time soon though when we will have to start splitting because in due course, license numbers will need to be displayed on tenancy agreements in Wales.

 

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