Weekly landlord news digest: Issue 13

The property industry is constantly changing so as a landlord it is important to keep up to date with industry news that matters! For this reason each week Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance brings the best of the week’s news to you!

This week’s landlord news digest focuses on government changes to EPC regulations, the start date for the Welsh letting fees ban and the top UK city for millennials!

 

Government changes EPC regulations removing exemptions for certain energy inefficient properties

In April 2018 new minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) came into effect meaning that rented properties are required to have a minimum energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of E.  A certain number of landlords were previously exempt from having to improve the EPC rating of their property under specific circumstances, including the ‘no cost to the landlord’ exception, if the works to improve the property would leave them worse off.

From 1st April 2019, landlords who own properties that have an EPC rating of F or G will have to cover the costs of improvement modifications up to a cap of £3,500 to bring their properties in line with a minimum EPC rating of E. To be exempt landlords need to prove that improvement costs would total more than £3,500.

New tenancies cannot begin in England and Wales if the property has a rating that is lower than E. The Negotiator report that 15 per cent of rented properties in England and Wales have an EPC rating of F or G and will now be required to make suitable improvements to the property or prove that property improvements will cost over £3,500 (including VAT) to bring them in line with an EPC rating of E. Failure to do so could result in being banned from renting out these particular properties.

Read more about the main changes brought about by the amendment here.  Read the full government guidance here.

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Lettings club was a sham to avoid housing law, says judge

A self-styled ‘lettings club’ was used as a front for avoiding shared house laws, said a judge.

District Judge Nicholas Rimmer at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court stated that Lifestyle Club LSC Ltd was just a way to ‘curtail the rights of tenants’, and that the arrangements were entirely contrived.

He ordered the club to pay £22,299 in fines and costs for failing to carry out repairs under statutory housing notices at two properties in Camden.

“The tenants were from abroad and the most in need. They were given membership agreements instead of tenancy agreements to try and curtail their rights.” said the judge.

“This was a cost-cutting exercise by the defendants. They did not apply for licences to avoid an inspection which would have resulted in expense to bring the properties up to standard, defects in the properties included inadequate fire detection, poor quality partition walls, no kitchen door, dampness and mould.”

– District Judge Nicholas Rimmer 

Wales letting fees ban start date

Weekly news digest: Issue 13 | Wales

Welsh Government housing minister Julie James AM has written to letting agents announcing the intention to commence the ban on fees from 1 September 2019.

The law, was recently passed in the Welsh assembly and awaits Royal Assent.

The Renting Homes (Wales) (Fees etc) Act will outlaw charges for tenants except for rents, security and holding deposits, default payments and payments for services, like utilities and council tax.