Strict new rules on evicting tenants will affect landlords with older tenancy agreements from in a few days.
The regulations affect tenancies in England that pre-date October 2022, and bring the eviction process for older contracts in line with those commenced more recently.
Here, we explain how the brand new rules will work, offer advice on the eviction process and and take a look at a few of the other regulations landlords need to be conscious of.
New eviction rules for long-term tenancies
From next Monday, eviction rules which were introduced for new tenancies in the 2022 Deregulation Act will also apply to tenancies started before October 2022.
The ‘new’ rules imply that landlords will no longer have the ability to serve notice in almost any written form, and will instead need to use form 6A when they want to offer a ‘no fault’ possession notice.
To reclaim ownership of the property that has an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) agreement, landlords must serve their tenants with a ‘section 21’ notice, giving 8 weeks notice of their intentions.
Landlords must also wait at least four months from the beginning of a tenancy before serving notice.
Confusion over some buy-to-let eviction rules
Two other rules were also brought forward in the 2022 Deregulation Act, but it’s still unclear whether they’ll also come into force for older tenancies from next week.
The rules under consideration are as follows:
Update (26 September): The Ministry of Housing, Communities and native Government (MHCLG) has confirmed to Which? that the above rules won't apply to tenancies commenced before 1 October 2022.
Advice on eviction for landlords
How you serve an eviction notice in England is determined by the type of tenancy agreement you've and whether the tenant has breached the contract terms.
The full guide that? Consumer Rights explains all you need to learn about how to legally evict your tenant.
Alternatively, if you’re a tenant facing eviction, you can find help in our guide to tenants rights.
New HMO rules for landlords
These section 21 rules aren’t the only regulations entering force next week for landlords.
Indeed, landlords letting out Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) face a number of new licensing and minimum space rules from October.
For example, houses under three stories high that meet other HMO specifications will now need a licence. The Residential Landlords Association estimates these changes means 177,000 additional landlords will need licences.
Things landlords have to know in 2022
It’s a complicated time for you to be considered a landlord, having a swathe of recent rules over the last few years adding to costs and cutting profits.
The two most well-publicised changes – the 3% premium on top of standard stamp duty rates, and also the tapering of mortgage interest tax relief – have gained plenty of column inches, but they’re in no way the only real changes landlords need to be aware of.
For example, some landlords also face stricter affordability testing, selective local licensing schemes and new regulations around energy efficiency standards that they must adhere to or face fines.
Upcoming rule changes for landlords in 2022
There may be more changes on the way in 2022, using the government currently debating two possible policies.
The first, a ban on residential letting fees in England, seems highly prone to enter into force at some point in 2022.
The Tenant Fees Bill, that is set for its next reading in the commons on 10 October, will mean letting agents will no longer have the ability to charge tenants for reference checks and administration costs. It will also place a cap of six weeks’ rent being provided as an up-front deposit.
The Welsh parliament is considering an identical bill, and fees have previously long been banned in Scotland.
The second proposal, to usher in three-year minimum tenancies, now seems less certain to go ahead in 2022.
The government launched an eight-week consultation in to bringing in minimum three-year leases with 6 month break clauses, but there are growing rumours this plan might be shelved.