Regulation is creeping slowly into the lettings industry, it is almost like no-one wants the responsibility of being the regulator, so regulation is being drip fed in, to fit within the current unregulated status quo! It is of course more likely to be about money and who will pick up the regulators tab, but either way it’s messy.
The latest regulation to find its way to market is with regard to the Section 21 notice. In actual fact it ties in with other regulation as I’ll highlight shortly.
The basis of the change is that a landlord can no longer ask for a section 21 to be signed on the day of a tenancy agreement. This always sounded a little odd to me anyway, but now it cannot be done. You have to wait four months before serving one and have to use the end date of the tenancy agreement as the earliest day of eviction.
To further complicate things there are two existing regulations that also have to be complied with for the notice to be legal.
The first is regarding retaliatory evictions. A Section 21 Notice will be challenged if it is initiated after a complaint in regard to a condition of the property, from the tenant, with no adequate response from the landlord.
The second is regarding the compliance of the landlord. If the landlord does not meet his obligations the Notice will be invalid. I am talking here about such things as Gas Safety certificates and more interestingly Legionella Risk Assessments.
Every time a new piece of legislation comes out Letting Agents always seem to want to think about it for a while, decide what the consequences of not complying will be, look at the associated cost and who will have to pay and then long after the legislation became live, eventually put it into place.
This latest legislation may change their focus somewhat, as the Section 21 Notice is a vital part of the landlord’s and therefore Agents’ armoury.
The days of an Agent picking and choosing what with and when to comply should be over, however, the average landlord is now taking a real risk when picking an Agent who has a history of non-compliance.
I have spoken recently to a very capable gentleman who decided not to buy into a franchise, but set up on his own. After a pleasant enough conversation I came away quite depressed. He is not compliant and is heading for a potentially very expensive lesson and possibly being barred from the business.
Regulation is here and if you are determined to succeed and grow a business that will produce the income you desire, please consider the franchise route very carefully, because the risks associated with going it alone are in my opinion disproportionately high.
Belvoir are always compliant. We issue notice of all upcoming legislation in advance, so that you can continue to do the most important job with confidence; serve your customers and grow your business as Mark Harrison of our Business Support Department explains:
Whatever you do please do not either become or get caught out by a non-compliant Agent, because it is you and the landlord who will unfortunately pay the price.
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