Following the end of the Residential evictions ban due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Landlords in England need to be aware of their extensive obligations towards Tenants. Failure to adhere to such obligations could prevent them from being able to evict their Tenants using the Section 21 procedure, and could even impact their ability to sell or refinance the property in the future.

Broadly, there are 4 key obligations Landlords have on their Tenants – also known as the ‘pre-letting requirements’:

  1. Energy Performance Certificate

It is paramount that an EPC is given to a Tenant before they occupy the property.  If a Landlord fails to do to do this, this could invalidate a later Section 21 notice to obtain possession of the property and mean that possession cannot be obtained without a breach by the Tenant.

  1. Deposit protection

If a Landlord takes a deposit from the Tenant, the deposit must be registered with one of the Government’s approved deposit protection schemes and the scheme’s requirements must be compiled with within 30 days of receiving the deposit. Landlords must also make sure they provide the Tenant with the correct deposit documentation, including the deposit scheme’s terms and conditions, the prescribed information, and the deposit certificate. Failure to comply can result in a fine, and can also result in an inability to serve a section 21 notice.

  1. Gas Safety

If the property has gas appliances, the Landlord must provide the Tenant with a copy of the latest gas safety certificate issued in respect of each gas appliance before the Tenant occupies the property. The certificate must also be no more than 12 months old, and the Landlord must also provide a copy of each annual gas safety certificate to the tenant within 28 days of the check.

  1. ‘How to Rent’ Guide

This guide is a document drafted by the Government, and sets out the various rights and obligations each party has to one another during the tenancy. As such, it is a requirement for Landlords to provide this document to a Tenant. Whilst there is no exact timescale as to when this document must be provided, we would recommend that the sooner it is provided, the better.

I am a Landlord, and I have not complied with one of the pre-letting requirements before the Tenant took occupation – what should I do?

If this is the case, we would recommend you seek legal advice as soon as possible, as failure to comply with the pre-letting requirements could prevent you from evicting a Tenant using a Section 21 Notice. Further, it could even mean you have to financially compensate the Tenant. However, every case is different so it is important you receive legal advice tailored to your individual matter.

I am a Landlord and have complied with the pre-letting requirements. How do I evict my Tenant?

In order to evict a Tenant, a Landlord must correctly serve a legally compliant Notice, and the correct notice period must be complied with. The law on evictions is ever changing, and we would therefore recommend you instruct a Solicitor to draft the required notice. It is very important the notice is correctly drafted and the required procedure is correctly adhered to, and your Solicitor will be able to advise you if you have correctly followed the pre-letting requirements. If the notice is deemed invalid, you may find yourself having to serve the notice again to the Tenant, which can be very time consuming.

Should you require any assistance in relation to your possession proceedings, please contact Georgia Dinallo by calling  01702 662963 / 020 35537115 01277 889193  01268 855679 or use the contact form below.

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This article does not necessarily deal with every important topic or cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not designed to provide legal or other advice. If you require specialist advice on this topic, please contact us to discuss how we may assist you.

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