The importance of record keeping under Deregulation Act 2015
Being a landlord is difficult. Meeting the needs of tenants is a challenge and with so many regulations and rules to consider when offering rental accommodation, landlords need all the help they can.
Deregulation Act 2015 Act contains provisions for landlords and tenant relating to deposits, retaliatory evictions and Section 21 notices. There are many things to be aware of with respect to this Act, but it is essential that landlords are clear on the importance of record keeping under the Deregulation Act 2015.
Since October of 2018, this Act applies to all new tenancies, not just renewed tenancies or new tenancies. Therefore, every landlord must act accordingly.
Landlords must provide the following documents to tenants:
- A valid Energy Performance Certificate, an EPC
- A valid Gas Safety Certificate
- An up-to-date Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s How To Rent Guide
These documents must be provided to the tenant before the start of the tenancy.
There have also been other changes that letting agents and landlords must be aware of, including:
- Retaliatory evictions: A landlord cannot serve a Section 21 notice, in most circumstances, if the landlord has received notice which requests repairs are carried out at the property
- Section 21 notices: Landlords will be unable to serve a Section 21 notice in the initial four months after the beginning of an AST and landlords will only have six months to act, from the provision of the Section 21 notice
- Prescribed information relating to the property’s condition: Landlords will be required to provide tenants with prescribed information relating to the property condition. Landlords are advised to carry out regular inspections, ensuring potential problems can be identified as quickly as possible.
Be proactive, have processes that help you to deal with notice, respond, record avoid fines
Tenant can report repairs to your letting agent or you, in writing, in person, by phone or text.
When tenant gives you notice of repairs you must respond quickly, maximum within 14 day. If you don’t and your tenant complains to the council, you may face prosecution, fines, or might be prohibited to let the property.
Also as mentioned above, you will be unable to enforce the Section 21.
Make sure you keep a complete written record of all communication with your tenant. This is very important to cover yourself in case the matter escalates, and tenant takes actions against you. You must prove that you have dealt with the matter.
So it is very much in your own interest to carry out more regular inspections will help landlords to notice any issues, to record these issues and then to respond in an effective manner. Having a process in place which helps to resolve problems ensures that landlords and tenants benefit in the short and long-term.
So much of this work will depend on the landlord having and maintaining good records regarding the property, their relationship with the tenant and their communication. The importance of record taking and communication cannot be stated enough for landlords and if you are looking to improve your working practices in any way this year, you should focus on the administrative aspect of your property.
It can be difficult for landlords to remain in touch with changing regulations. Given that there have been so many changes, updates and new regulations introduced in recent times, it is no surprise that many landlords have struggled to remain up to date. Sadly, ignorance of new regulations is no defence, which means landlords must do everything they can to provide the best standard of service to their tenants.
Any landlord looking for assistance in remaining up to date with regulations and providing their tenants with the best standard of service, should get in touch. I am pleased to say I have helped many landlords understand their administrative processes, helping them offer the best standard of service to their tenants.
CEO, Kings Accommodation