April legal changes and Covid-19 – are you prepared?

Carla Keegans of the Ethical Lettings Agency in Redcar. Pic by Doug Moody.
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Advice for residential landlords, with Carla Keegans, director, The Ethical Housing Company…

Life for many residential landlords isn’t easy. Reforms designed to raise property standards and increase tenant’s rights, along with mortgage tax relief cuts and dealing with the benefits system to get rent payments, requires money and effort. This will continue, as the UK’s housing market is being restructured, with big corporate landlords entering the rental market.

Covid-19 will pose additional challenges as tenants face financial problems due to job losses, compounding landlord’s own potential financial difficulties. The housing market will also be affected, with depreciating capital values and stalling property sales.

In these challenging times, landlords must be prepared if they decide to remain in the market. Here’s a quick snapshot that may help:

EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates)

From April 1, privately rented properties with tenants must have an EPC in place with a minimum E rating. This has been the case for new lettings over the past year. Now it applies to properties with sitting tenants (Different rules for HMOs).

Electrical safety certificates

The government put draft regulations before parliament in January to make it law for all privately rented properties to have a five-year electrical safety certificate in place. For properties with tenants, this must be done by July and for empty properties by April 1 2021.

Older properties usually fail upon first inspection and remedial works cost on average £400 per property.

We recommend that landlords get testing ASAP to ensure work can be done before the deadline. There are also legal requirements for issuing information to tenants.


We are contacting all our tenants to discuss their financial circumstances, prevent rent arrears and support them in navigating the benefits system. Our advice to landlords is to budget and speak to your tenants, as there will be hard times ahead.

Thinking of selling?

For landlords considering selling, The Ethical Housing Company is always buying, and we don’t charge fees. Using a reputable letting agent like The Ethical Lettings Agency can help landlords effectively let and manage their properties.

Call 01642 484845 or contact louise.gilbey@ethicalhousing.co.uk.


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