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The good and not-so-good news of managing let property

The good news….
It is well documented in the press that the national housing crisis is evident in the south east more than any other region. The shortage of housing leading to high property prices means more people have to rely on the private rented sector. For any landlord of well maintained properties this is good news. Demand is high and good returns can therefore be achieved.

The not-so good news….
To counter this good news is the ever increasing burden of regulatory demands and legislative changes. The following is a summary of some recent changes that must be borne in mind by any property manager:

?? Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) – From 1st April 2016 tenants living in F and G rated properties will be able to request improvements. From 1st April 2018, a property must have a minimum EPC rating of E for it to be re-let.

?? Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms – Due to come into force on 1st October 2015, new regulations state a smoke alarm must be equipped on every storey used as living accommodation. A carbon monoxide alarm must be equipped in any room that contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance (e.g. open fires, wood burning stoves). Finally, checks must be made to ensure each alarm is in proper working order on the start of a new tenancy.

?? Immigration status of tenants – It is now the Landlords responsibility to check that the immigration status of new tenants is lawful before allowing them to rent a property.
Retaliatory eviction – due to come into force on 1st October 2015, legislation will protect tenants against the practice of retaliatory eviction where they have raised a legitimate complaint about the condition of the property.

It is imperative that those managing let properties are aware of and act upon such changes to avoid fines or criminal prosecutions. Regular maintenance inspections and taking prompt action when a tenant makes a complaint is key, along with planning as far in advance as possible any future investment that may be required.