Landlords warned over tenancy rule changes

Published July 26th, 2016

Landlords should be aware of a number of changes to residential tenancy legislation that could have an impact on future agreements they have with their tenants.

Emily Meredith, a chartered surveyor at Berrys, says there have already been changes in England and Wales and there are still more to come.

Right to Rent

In England, private landlords now have to check potential tenant’s right to rent in the UK, or face fines of up to £3,000. The Right to Rent scheme came into force from in February 2016, meaning that landlords of residential property in England are now legally required to carry out checks on all new tenants that are renting a property to ensure they have the right to rent a property in the UK. The scheme also applies to people who are taking in lodgers or sub-letting their property.

“With the tenant present you must view the original documents such as a passport or birth certificate of all adults in the house, check that the documents are genuine and make and keep copies of the documents and record the date you made the check,” Emily explained.

Ending a Tenancy

Changes to Assured Shorthold Tenancies mean that in the future it may become more difficult to terminate an Assured Shorthold Tenancy as there are now prescribed legal requirements for Section 21 Notices (S21) and prescribed rules to follow.

For tenancies beginning after October 1, 2015 landlords cannot serve an S21 Notice unless the tenant has been provided with:

A copy of the gas certificate for the property (if applicable);
Free and valid energy performance certificate (EPC);
A copy of the government’s guidance note How to Rent – A checklist for renting in England
“In addition, a landlord cannot service a S21 if the tenant has complained about the property condition and the landlords hadn’t responded or has responded inadequately,” Emily said.

Smoke and Carbon monoxide alarms

Carbon monoxide detectors should be provided in all properties where solid fuel appliance is present, best practice would include gas appliances also. This includes rooms which are wholly or partly used as living accommodation. Detectors must comply with current British Standards and be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. The fitting of carbon monoxide detectors is mandatory when a new solid fuel burning appliance is installed.

“This applies to farmhouses let under Agricultural Holding Act tenancies and Farm Businesses Tenancies,” Emily said. “Landlords failing to comply could face a fine of up to £5,000.”

Energy Efficiency

From April 1, 2016 a tenant will be allowed to reasonably ask for a relevant energy efficiency improvement as long as can be carried out without cost to the landlord.

From April 1, 2018, all rented property (both domestic and non-domestic) which is to have a new tenancy must have an EPC rating of at least “E”. This also applies to all renewal tenancies to the same tenant for the same property on or after  April 1, 2018.

From April 1, 2020, all domestic property (including existing tenancies) must have the minimum E rating. Non-domestic properties have until  April 1 2023 (including existing tenancies) to ensure they meet the E rating.

For advice on residential tenancy matters contact Emily Meredith at Berrys on 01743 267067, email


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