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From Ballards

How To Rent Guide - February 2016

A new version of the How To Rent Guide has been released from the 1st February 2016.

All tenants should be issued with the new version; new tenancies and existing tenancies. It is important to give all tenants a copy of the newest version and ensure the current version is always given, at the time of granting a new tenancy or replacement tenancies to ensure valid service of a section 21 notice, this also include statutory periodic tenancies.

This version includes details of the new right to rent requirements. As the How to Rent Guide is a Government publication it is the landlords/agents responsibility to check and make sure that they are providing the most current version to their tenants.

How To Rent Guide February 2016 - Newest Version

Does your agent have Client Protection Money?

Lettings Agents have been required since May 2015 to be transparent regarding their fees, details of the redress scheme that they belong to and if they are a member of a Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme. 

Agents need to display information in their offices and on their website under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

It is not a mandatory requirement that an agent has CMP. However it is a legal requirement to display and make clear to consumers whether you have joined a CMP scheme or not.

If an agent doesn’t display their fees, join a government authorised redress scheme or state whether or not they have or haven’t got CMP. Agents can be subject to a £5,000 fine which can be enforced by the local enforcement authorities and further action can be taken if they continue to breach their legal requirements.

New Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Legislation (2015)

With effect from 1st October 2015, Landlords will be immediately required to ensure alarms are installed in their properties and that they are working from the start of each new tenancy.

A smoke alarm (heat detectors are not enough) is necessary on each floor of any property and a carbon monoxide alarm is required in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance.

These regulations cover all private rented properties, included unlicensed HMOs. Licensed HMOs are controlled under other legislation with similar requirements and live-in landlords are not included.

Enforcement of these requirements is the responsibility of the local housing authority who will have the power to issue remedial notices requiring fitting and/or testing of appropriate alarms within 28 days. A failure to comply could result in a  fine of up to £5000.

Landlords should be aware that these new regulations do not contain all the fire safety requirements which their premises may be subject to. All landlords should ensure that they or their agents test the alarms at all of their properties regularly to ensure compliance.

The Government has funded local fire and rescue authorities to purchase a limited number of alarms for free distribution to landlords. Fire and rescue authorities have been asked to distribute the alarms and offer appropriate installation advice. While fire and rescue authorities may offer to fit alarms, this service is at the authorities’ discretion and landlords should be prepared to install their own alarms.

Please contact your local fire and rescue service for further information on how to obtain an alarm. You can also visit http://www.alarms4life.com/to check the details of your local fire and rescue authority and for further information regarding applying for the free alarms.