New regulations every landlord should know

A photograph of a landlord reading a newspaper

It is vital to keep up to speed with the latest legislation in order to remain successful as a landlord. Here we give our rundown of several important changes to landlord law due to take effect in the coming weeks.

New fire safety measures will apply

Under the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015, landlords will be required to install fire and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties where appropriate.

When do the new laws take effect?

The legislation will come into force on 1 October 2015.

Who will be affected?

Landlords in England will be subject to the new rules, though the following exceptions apply:

  • Tenancies for accommodation shared with the landlord or landlord’s family
  • Long leases or tenancies that grants right of occupation for seven or more years
  • Student halls
  • Care homes, hostels and refuges
  • Hospices, hospitals and other healthcare-related accommodation

What are the main changes?

  • You will be required to install a smoke detector on every floor of your property, and a carbon monoxide (CO) detector in every room containing a solid fuel-burning appliance
  • You must test each alarm and ensure that it is working at the start of each new tenancy

Fire and CO detection specialists Aico have more information for landlords about the new rules, including best practice for fitting alarms:

How you can issue section 21 notices will change

The Deregulation Act 2015 has changed the way that you can issue no-fault eviction notices (section 21 notices) to your tenant, including introducing measures to prevent retaliatory eviction.

When do the new laws take effect?

The relevant sections of the Deregulation Act 2015 will come into force on October 1 2015.

Who will be affected?

The new laws apply to assured shorthold tenancies in England that start on or after the commencement date of 1 October.

What are the main changes?

  • Date of service: You will no longer be able to issue a section 21 notice in the first four months of an assured shorthold tenancy.
  • Expiry date: Section 21 notices will no longer be valid if, after six months from the date of service, no repossession proceedings have commenced.
  • Repair notices: If landlords receive a housing disrepair notice from their local authority, they will be unable to issue a section 21 notice for a period of six months. In addition, section 21 notices will be invalid if landlords fail to follow the correct procedure for receiving a written disrepair complaint from their tenant (outlined in section 33 (2) of the Act).
  • New prescribed form: A new prescribed version of the form must be issued. Access the new form here.

What does this mean?

Previously, section 21 notices could run indefinitely. From 1 October, the practice of issuing a section 21 at the commencement of the fixed term of the tenancy, in order to enact a speedy repossession after the fixed term should it be deemed necessary, will no longer be legal or viable.

Crucially, landlords will now be unable to respond to genuine requests for repairs by issuing a section 21 notice (a process known as ‘retaliatory eviction’).

See the new legislation in full at

Section 21 evictions will be invalid without EPCs and gas safety certificates

Issuing EPCs (energy performance certificates) and gas safety certificates has long been a legal requirement, but new rules mean that landlords will be unable to serve a section 21 notice if they haven’t issued the certificates as required.

When do the new laws take effect?

Along with the new prescribed format for section 21 notices, these new rules take effect from 1 October 2015.

Who will be affected?

Landlords in England whose property is subject to a tenancy that commences on or after 1 October 2015.

What is required?

The current legislation relating to EPCs and gas safety certificates still applies as follows:

  • You must provide an EPC to prospective tenants free of charge at the earliest opportunity (and no later than the point at which they request information about the property or request a viewing)
  • You must hire a Gas Safe registered engineer to conduct annual gas safety checks on every appliance in your property. You must also provide a record of the check to your tenant either before they move in or, if they already live in the property, within 28 days of the check.

Other legislation to be aware of

DCLG ‘how to rent’ checklist

In addition to EPC and gas safety law, you will also need to provide your tenant with the Department for Communities and Local Government’s “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England and Wales” at the start of every tenancy. This will be a further requirement of the new section 21 laws due to take effect in October.

You can find the DCLG checklist here:

Legionella risk assessments

Though no new laws have been imposed regarding legionella risk assessments, a revised Health and Safety Executive (HSE) document has reminded landlords that they are required to manage the risk of legionella in their properties.

The HSE website has more information of landlords’ legal duties regarding legionella risk management:

‘Right to rent’ immigration checks

It is expected that, by the end of 2015, all landlords will be required to check the immigration status of their tenants prior to signing a tenancy agreement, and could face a fine of up to £3,000 if they fail to do so. ‘Right to rent’ checks have been trialled in some parts of the West Midlands since 1 December 2014.

For more information on right to rent checks, see

This information should not be interpreted as financial advice. Mortgage and loan rates are subject to change.