Whether you’re new to property management (in which case - our guide to property investment may be of interest) or have many experienced years in the industry, it’s important to make sure you’re constantly refreshing your knowledge with the latest legal regulations and legislation updates. Understanding the laws surrounding property management and lettings may not be the most exciting thing in the world, but it's vital that you're fully aware of your responsibilities and duties. Quality of life and risk avoidance is at the core of legislation so it’s there with good reason, and these laws are constantly refined, and in many cases, over many years.
In this two-part series we’ve outlined several laws that we believe are crucial for a property manager to know, although it’s worth noting that this list certainly isn’t exhaustive.
As far as property managers should be concerned, one of the most important parts of the Landlord and Tenant Act (1985) is about providing leaseholders clear and concise information about their service charge. Time limits are in place when giving leaseholders notice of service charges, and these must be complied with as well as obligations that relate to consultation procedures. If a leaseholder feels the service charges are not reasonable, they can take the case to a tribunal.
This bill is currently going through the House of Lords, but it’s expected to pass in the very near future so it's one worth being aware of nice and early. The aim of this bill is to put a duty of care on landlords by ensuring any properties they rent out for a term less than seven years will be ‘fit for human habitation’, and that it will be maintained as such throughout the duration of the tenancy. If the property falls into disrepair, the tenant can ask the court to make an order that forces the landlord to act.
May 2018 saw the introduction of GDPR, and it’s full repercussions are still being understood. It stands for General Data Protection Regulation, and it’s there to ensure adequate measures are being taken to protect personal data. Landlords and property managers have a legal responsibility to look after tenants’ personal data, and that includes only keeping data for such time as is necessary. For those who fail to comply there are huge fines in the waiting, so it’s well worth your time investigating exactly what you need to know about GDPR.
The Section 21, Deregulation act had a transition period for tenancies that pre-dated 1 October 2015, but that ended on 1 October 2018, meaning this Act now applies to all Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs). That’s not to say that all changes apply to ASTs, however. In order to serve a section 21 notice the landlord must use the prescribed form 6A within the correct time frame and satisfy the prescribed requirements, which include the service of the EPC, how to rent guide and gas safety certificates. If the landlord fails to serve these documents before the tenancy starts, then they may not be able to serve a section 21 notice at all.
The money laundering regulations were introduced to help companies know who their clients are. Any business that conducts estate agency work must register with HMRC for anti-money laundering supervision, and a risk-based approach must be taken to assess any risks involved and to put in place appropriate measures. Due diligence is vital, and before entering into relevant contracts the business is obliged to carry out ID verification for both contracting parties.
That's it for part one, but keep your eyes peels for part two next week!
In the meantime, if you’re a landlord in Cardiff looking to source the perfect tenant, grow your portfolio with ideal properties or invest in Cardiff for the first time, get in touch with us today. Call us on 02920 668585, e-mail email@example.com or pop into one of our three Cardiff branches.