The Government has announced 'Local COVID alert level: high' restrictions for Stockton-on-Tees.
For further information about the rules and disruptions to Council services visit www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Landlords, make sure you don't get caught out by new legislation, be sure to read the latest news.
Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 S.I. 2002/312 Made: 18 March 2020 – In force 1 June 2020
These regulations impose duties on private landlords of residential premises in England in respect of electrical safety standards. The landlord must ensure that prescribed electrical safety standards are met and that every fixed electrical installation is inspected and tested (by a qualified person) at least once every five years. Any necessary work identified by that report must be carried out within 28 days or such shorter period as the report may specify. On request, a copy of the report must be provided to the local authority and to any prospective tenant. Where there is already a tenant in occupation, it must be provided within 28 days of being produced without any request for it. Local authorities may enforce these provisions by use of a fixed penalty notice (for up to £30,000), with a right of appeal to the FTT (General Regulatory Chamber). The regulations come into force on 1 July 2020 (for tenancies granted on or after that date) and to all tenancies from 1 April 2021.
The government has published non-statutory guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities, which can be found on the GOV.UK website.
PLuSS (Private Landlords Supporting Stockton)
We work in partnership with private landlords (with a housing stock in the two Target Action areas), and have agreed a Membership Scheme (PLuSS) to raise and improve housing standards and management practices. PLuSS members will be required to adhere to a Code of Conduct. We would like to encourage private landlords outside of the two Target Action areas to consider becoming PLuSS members too.
Please read the following documents to assist Private Landlords prepare for PLuSS membership:
We have decided not to pursue a Selective Licensing scheme at this time. It is anticipated that the Membership scheme will provide a strong partnership approach to raising and improving housing standards and management practices without the need for more formal action. We will work cooperatively with PLuSS members, however, for non-members, especially those with properties in the PLuSS priority areas, their approach will be a more formal one with greatly increased inspection regime.
We will review and assess the effectiveness of the PLuSS scheme over the next twelve months reserving the right to introduce a Selective Licensing scheme in the future. Any new proposals about Selective Licensing will be subject to consultation with private landlords and approval from the Council.
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018
The new Act was introduced on 20th March 2019 and amends the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to require that any property let by a landlord (private or social) is fit for human habitation when a tenancy is granted and remains so for its duration. More information can be found at Landlords Guidance.
Altered definition of an HMO under the Housing Act 2004: for licensing purposes
Legislation introduced from the 1 October 2018 means that Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) that are occupied by five or more people forming more than one household will be required to have a licence, regardless of the number of storeys. For further information please visit our Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) page.
In addition, as part of the new measures, the Government has introduced National Minimum Room sizes for those rooms used for sleeping. The floor area of any room used as sleeping accommodation are as follows:
- 1 person is not less than 6.51sq metres
- 2 persons is not less than 10.22sq metres
- 1 person under the age of 10 years of age is not less than 4.64sq metres
The new measures also introduce conditions relating to refuse storage and disposal.
For further information and guidance, please refer to Houses in Multiple Occupation – Guidance for Local Housing Authorities. Further information is available via the legislation website, please refer to SI 221 and SI 616 legislation.
Safety checks on private residential tower blocks
Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is asking that all owners, landlords and managers of private residential blocks are aware of their responsibilities in carrying out the appropriate checks and testing on their buildings.
Please follow the links below to view the guidance letter and data return form on testing from the DCLG as well as the Stockton Rental Standard which provides advice to landlord and agents to help ensure all private rented properties are of a high quality and well managed.
Immigration Act 2016
The Home Secretary announced on 4 October that provisions in the 2016 Immigration Act relevant to the private rented sector will be brought into force across England. As of 1 December 2016, these two further measures will come into force. They will:
- Make it easier for private landlords to evict illegal migrant tenants.
- Create new criminal offences for rogue landlords and agents who knowingly, or with reasonable cause to believe, let to illegal migrants.
The measures demonstrate the Government’s commitment to tackle illegal immigration, and its determination to take the necessary steps to protect public services and access to the private rented sector for our lawful residents. Today, we are sharing the news of this implementation date with you and the key points below.
- From 1 December, landlords could be charged with a criminal offence if they know, or have reasonable cause to believe, that they are letting to an illegal migrant.
- From 1 December landlords can end tenancies for occupants with no right to rent.
Previous News for Landlords
Check your tenant's Right to Rent
Right to Rent checks by private landlords become mandatory for any new tenancies form 1 February 2016
- Ask for original documents
- Check they're valid
- Make copies
Further information can be obtained via the Home Office Guidance on the links below: