New View Residential - letting agents in Cambridge

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Letting regulations updated

The lettings industry is up in arms at what appears to be government confusion over a raft of letting regulations coming into effect on 1 October 2015.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) says that “it is plain farcical that changes have been announced this week concerning restrictions to Section 21 ‘no fault possession’ notices in two official documents posted online by the government.” (View document 1 here and document 2 here.)

Understanding these changes appears to be too challenging for many, without additional guidance. Government guidance is not forthcoming.

Richard Lambert of the NLA said: “These regulations are poorly worded, badly timed and are being tabled with just days to spare before they are due to come into force on 1 October. As we understand it, there will be no guidance from the Government explaining how to comply before then. How can a landlord about to let a property on a tenancy from the start of October be expected to comply with these new requirements if they’ve not been told what they are and what is expected?

“It’s shoddy, to say the least. Coming hot on the heels of the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm debacle in the Lords yesterday, which due to official incompetence looks highly unlikely to come into force this year, this is something akin to a Laurel and Hardy sketch.”

This new letting regulation concerns the fitting of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. They are subject to confusion over the fate of the legislation that was supposed to have made their installation compulsory.

Draft legislation was laid earlier in the year to require private-sector landlords to install at least one smoke alarm on every storey of their rental property. This was supposed to come into effect from 1 October. The new letting regulation gives local authorities the power to fine landlords up to £5,000 for non-compliance.

However, the House of Lords rejected the draft legislation earlier this week at its final stage. This was done on the basis that the proposed introduction is less than three weeks away and that the government has not done enough to inform the private rental sector of the changes. The Lords also commented that the new legislation is poorly worded.

The British Property Federation, which initially supported the draft letting regulation, has warned that, by the time the legislation is approved, letting agents and will be left with just a few days to comply before risking the £5,000 fine.

Victor Jameson of New View Residential, a letting agent in Cambridge, commented: “This is a bit of a fiasco. As an ethical letting agent we are behind any reasonable letting regulation that will help to protect tenants. It is a real shame that this is being handled so badly.

“However, whatever happens with this particular piece of legislation it can only be a matter of time before smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are a legal requirement in private-sector rented property. We will be pushing ahead with fitting these safety devices regardless of the progress of the legislation.”


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