Deregulation Act 2015
The purpose of the Act is to reduce the burdens of current legislation for businesses, other organisations or individuals; to revoke legislation which no longer has practical use; make provision about the exercise of regulatory functions; and for connected purposes. Deregulation Act 2015 commencement date 26th March 2015. We have endeavoured here to provide consolidated implications of the Act relating specifically to relevant aspects of residential legislation.
Housing Legislation affected by the Deregulation Act 2015
Key sections of the Deregulation Act 2015 pertaining to relevant residential deregulation have been explained.
Tenancy Deposits (effective date 26 March 2015)
The amendments to article 2 of the order make it clear that each of the references to “the landlord” in the order are to be read as references to either the landlord or the letting agent where relevant. This means an agent can sign and serve the prescribed information on behalf of the landlord.
If as a result of the Deregulation Act a tenant loses an existing claim (started prior to 26 March 2015) relating to deposit protection or loses their challenge to a section 21 notice, the court will not order the tenant to pay the landlord’s costs. If the landlord is compliant possession will be granted.
Section 21 and Retaliatory Evictions (effective date 01 October 2015)
These sections apply to assured shorthold tenancies granted on or after the day the sections come into force (but excluding periodic tenancies that arose after the coming into force of the sections, where the original tenancy was granted before the sections came into force).
However, once a provision has been brought into force it will apply to all assured shorthold tenancies, whether granted before or after the commencement day, three years after the provision comes into force.
This section provide protection for tenants against retaliatory eviction, where tenants are suffering from poor or unsafe property conditions. If your tenancy started before 1 October 2015, there's no special protection that prevents your landlord evicting if you complain about repairs. Rules that could protect you from retaliatory eviction won't apply unless you start a new tenancy or sign a renewal contract from 1 October 2015. Otherwise, you'll have to wait until 1 October 2018 to benefit from the new rules.
The policy rationale for the changes is to prevent tenants from feeling unable to complain about poor property conditions because they fear eviction. The government also intends that the legislation should encourage landlords to keep their property in a decent condition and to comply with all legal obligations placed upon them, in order not to lose their right to rely on section 21.
The changes that are made to the section 21 procedure aim to make the eviction process more straightforward for both landlords and tenants. The sections do not make any changes to the eviction procedure contained in section 8 of the Housing Act 1988.
A section 21 notice given is invalid if before the section 21 notice was given the tenant had made a complaint about the condition of the property to the landlord, the landlord did not provide an adequate or timely response to the complaint or served a section 21 notice on the tenant and the tenant then contacted the local housing authority (LHA) about the matters raised with the landlord. The LHA then served a relevant notice in relation to the property.
Tenant’s Complaint Requirements
- The requirement for a tenant’s complaint to be in writing does not need to be met where the tenant does not know the postal or email address of the landlord.
- The requirement for the tenant to complain to the landlord in the first instance and to allow the landlord 14 days to respond, does not apply where the tenant made reasonable efforts to contact the landlord to complain but was unable to do so.
- If a relevant notice by the LHA was served before the order for possession is made the court must strike out proceedings for an order for possession under section 21.
- If the service of a relevant notice is received after an order for possession has been made it does not provide grounds for the setting aside of the possession order and the order will stand.
Reserving S21 after Relevant Notice Served
When a landlord has been prevented from obtaining possession under these circumstances, the landlord may serve a fresh section 21 notice, but AFTER six months from the date of the relevant notice from the LHA to regain possession.
There are certain exemptions from the measures to prevent retaliatory eviction:
- The tenant complains verbally or the landlord serves a section 21 notice before they complained to them in writing
- The tenant complains to the council but it takes no action or serves the landlord with a 'hazard notice'
- Due to the tenant’s breach of their duty to use the dwelling in a tenant-like manner
- Where the disrepair is due to the tenant’s breach of their duty and obligations as set out in the AST
- Where the landlord has a genuine intention to sell their interest in the dwelling to a person that they are not associated with
- Where the landlord is a private registered provider of social housing and where a mortgagee needs to be able to exercise their power of sale with vacant possession
A section 21 notice is valid if your landlord gives it to you after the council serves your landlord an improvement notice but suspends enforcement action. The council may decide not to enforce the notice if there aren't any young children or anyone over the age of 60 in your home.
Notice under a section 21 may not be given within the period of four months beginning with the day on which the tenancy began with the exception of periodic tenancies arising at the end of a fixed-term tenancy.
Proceedings for an order for possession may not be begun after six months from the date of service of a S21(1) notice or six months from the date specified in a S21(4) notice. Meaning a S21 will only be valid for a period of 6 months and court proceedings must commence within that period as after which it can no longer be relied upon.
This is contrary to the current view that a S21 once served is valid indefinitely.
A detailed explanation of this Regulation is available here
If the repayment of rent has not been made when the court considers whether to make a possession order under section 21, the court shall order the landlord to pay the amount of rent to which the tenant is entitled.
Other Sections (not explained)