Update on the Latest Developments in Property Law
Further to the Property News Round Up in May 2023, the Government continues to be busy on the property front.
Landlord Energy Efficiency Upgrades
The Prime Minister has announced changes to the Government’s proposals towards Net Zero. This means that the previous plans for private residential landlords to adapt their premises to achieve an EPC rating of C or higher from 1 April 2025 onwards have been scrapped. Whilst the proposals are no longer mandatory, landlords may still wish to consider taking advice on upgrading the energy efficiency of properties as letting agents are reporting that those with more efficient EPC ratings can often achieve higher rents. Improvements in energy efficiency may also assist with issues of damp and mould outlined in the government's recently published guidance (see below for more information). At this stage it is not known whether there will be similar backtracking in relation to the energy efficiency of commercial properties.
The website content in respect of the domestic MEES proposals has been amended to reflect the changes.
Another “How to Rent – The Checklist for Renting in England” Booklet Update
Whilst the booklet had remained unchanged for some time until March of this year, a further update is scheduled for release on or around 2nd October 2023. The latest version will include reference to the Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service which replaces the Housing Possession Court Duty Service. The importance of serving the most recent version on the grant of a new tenancy and how to avoid the pitfalls of serving an out of date version was covered in the April blog Landlord-and-Agent-News-Updated-How-to-Rent-The-Checklist-for-Renting-in-England-Booklet
Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) Review
The HHSRS outlines the different types of hazards which can impact on a property’s ability to be fit for human habitation and provides a tool to help letting agents and landlords assess potential hazards in rental properties. It has been in place since April 2006, but the government implemented a review to assess whether it needed updating.
The review has introduced some key changes to simplify the current system and includes the reduction of the number of hazards from 29 to 21 and simplified checklists to help assess risks. New regulations will need to be introduced to make the changes mandatory, but the report can be read here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/housing-health-and-safety-rating-system-hhsrs-review-outcomes-and-next-steps
Health Risks of Damp and Mould
Following the death of Awaab Ishak as a result of mould, a committee of government experts has published guidance on understanding and assessing the health risks of damp and mould in housing.
The Guide sets out the health risks and the regulations to which landlords must comply, as well as providing useful steps to be taken when tenants report damp and mould problems, and details proactive steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of damp and mould. For the detailed Government Guidance see: understanding-and-addressing-the-health-risks-of-damp-and-mould-in-the-home--2
New content will be added shortly to assist with the management of damp and mould.
Renters Reform Bill
Despite Michael Gove’s introduction of the Bill to parliament on 17 May 2023, there has been next to no progress with the reforms and the Second Reading where MPs will discuss the proposals in detail has still not been scheduled. The reforms are likely to result in the greatest overhaul of the letting of a dwelling in England for years. Developments on what this will mean for the private rental sector will be provided when known.
The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.