Following the law: a property manager's guide - Part 2

Wooden house next to coins with shoots growingLast week we published 'Following the law: a property manager's guide - Part 1', and this week we are following it up with part 2. This time we're going to take a look at another selection of different laws that we believe every property manager within Cardiff and the rest of the UK should be aware of.

Falling foul of the law and legal requirements is never a good idea, so keeping yourself updated with the latest regulations and legislation is vital when you work within the ever-changing property industry.

Client/Money Protection Insurance

As a property manager, your role will include holding your occupiers and landlords funds for periods of time. Since 2015, it has been a legal requirement for all letting agents and property managers to display whether or not they have client money protection, which is an insurance policy that covers any client funds that you hold. In April 2019, it will become mandatory to have this insurance cover. If you're a property manager that fails to properly insure your client money accounts then you can expect to receive severe fines.

Energy Efficiency Standards

Last April saw the introduction of minimum energy efficiency standards, which states that all new build and renewals that are let to tenants must be at least an E rating on the energy performance scale, although this is something that only applies to privately rented properties in Wales and England. They will apply to all existing tenancies in the private rented sector from 1 April 2020. If you're a landlord, check that all properties within your portfolio meet this minimum E rating requirement, as failure to do so will mean a fine of up to £4,000.

Updated Payment Services Regulation

In January 2018, the updated payment services directive came into effect. This means that businesses that accept card payments can no longer pass the charge for processing transactions on to their customers, and instead have to find a way to cover the cost. No matter which payment method your client chooses to pay their balance, there can only be one price.

Gas Service Regulations

Last year, an amendment to the gas service regulations came into force which included one significant change that allows private landlords more flexibility on gas safety renewal dates. This was due to problems that had arisen with gaining access to the property within the correct time frame. Landlords that are letting properties with gas supple are currently expected to:

  • Arrange for a Gas Safe engineer to inspect all gas appliances and flues before a tenant occupies the property;

  • Provide tenants with a Gas Safety Certificate before they move into the property; and

  • Ensure that gas safety checks are undertaken every 12 months, and that the certificates are provided to tenants within 28 days.

These annual safety checks can be carried out between 10-12 months from the point of the previous check but treated as if the check happens on the final day of those 12 months – preserving the existing expiry date of the safety check record.

Tenant Fees Bill

The Tenant Fees Bill is moving through parliament, and will ban most charges that are set by landlords and lettings agents to tenants. The provisions are due to come into effect in June of this year. The new ban will apply to new and renewal ASTs and licenses that arise after it comes into force. Holding deposits, rent, rent deposits and charges for defaulting on the tenancy agreement are all exempt from the ban but will be subject to additional restrictions. All other fees will be banned. If a fee or payment is wrongfully taken, the tenant will have the right to go through court to get it returned, with the assistance of local trading standards.

If you're a property manager or landlord in Cardiff looking to add to your portfolio of properties, or simply feel you could benefit from some advice, then don't hesitate to contact our expert team here at CPS Homes. We're proud to be Cardiff's largest lettings and estate agents, and we have a wealth of knowledge and experience in the industry. Call us today on 02920 668585, e-mail enquiries@cpshomes.co.uk or pop into one of our three Cardiff branches.

23 January 2019

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