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Tenancy Agreement Changes UK: What You Need to Know

As a tenant in the UK, you must have a tenancy agreement with your landlord or letting agent. This agreement outlines the terms and conditions of your tenancy, including the monthly rent, deposit, and other important details.

However, tenancy agreement changes are not uncommon, and being aware of them could help you avoid issues down the line. Here are some major tenancy agreement changes you should know about in the UK:

1. New Electrical Safety Standards

From 1st July 2020, landlords in England are required to have an Electrical Safety Inspection Report (ESIR) carried out by a qualified electrician at least every five years. The new regulations mean that electrical installations within the property must be inspected and tested, ensuring that they are up to current safety standards.

2. The Tenant Fees Act

The Tenant Fees Act came into force on 1st June 2019, banning landlords and letting agents from charging tenants certain fees. These include agency fees, check-in fees, and renewal fees. As a tenant, you are only expected to pay your rent and a refundable deposit (which is capped at five weeks’ rent).

3. Changes to Section 21 Notices

In England, landlords can use Section 21 notices to evict tenants without providing a reason. However, this process has been subject to changes in recent years. For example, from 1st June 2021, landlords must give their tenants six months’ notice before they can apply to court for a possession order.

4. New Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

From 1st April 2021, new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) came into effect in England and Wales. Under the new regulations, landlords must ensure that their properties reach a minimum energy efficiency rating of E. Failure to comply with this could result in a fine of up to £5,000.

5. Changes to the Renting Homes (Wales) Act

The Renting Homes (Wales) Act came into force in Wales on 28th April 2021. This piece of legislation replaces all existing tenancy arrangements with a new type of contract called the standard occupation contract. This contract is designed to be more straightforward, transparent, and concise.

6. Changes to Gas Safety Checks

Landlords in the UK are required to have an annual gas safety check conducted by a Gas Safe registered engineer. However, from 6th April 2018, landlords can now have the check carried out up to two months before the due date and retain the existing expiry date.

7. Introduction of the Fitness for Human Habitation Act

The Fitness for Human Habitation Act came into effect in England on 20th March 2019. This act requires landlords to ensure that their properties are fit for human habitation at the start and throughout a tenancy. If a tenant believes their property is not fit for habitation, they can take legal action against their landlord.

8. Changes to HMO Licensing

From 1st October 2018, the government introduced new mandatory licensing requirements for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). The new rules require landlords to have a licence for any property rented to five or more people who form two or more households.

9. The Tenant Fees Ban in Scotland

In Scotland, the Tenant Fees Ban came into force on 1st June 2019. This bans landlords and letting agents from charging tenants certain fees, such as key replacement fees and check-out fees.

10. Changes to Right to Rent Checks

Landlords in England are required to carry out Right to Rent checks on all prospective tenants before renting out their property. From 1st July 2021, the government is introducing changes to this process to make it easier for landlords to carry out the checks remotely.

In conclusion, as a tenant in the UK, it is important to stay informed about changes to tenancy agreements. Keeping up to date with the latest developments could help you avoid any unexpected issues during your tenancy.