Tenancy Agreement & LandlordAId Updates 2023
The Guild of Residential Landlords is committed to providing our members with continual support and the most up-to-date information. We are pleased to announce some recent updates to our tenancy agreements and LandlordAId chatbot, which will be detailed below.
Updates for Wales
These regulations, effective from 6 December 2023, introduce a few changes:
- Explanatory Information Adjustments: Small updates to the explanatory details required in the written statements of occupation contracts have been made. Notably, there is now clarification that these statements can be given to the contract-holder before or within 14 days of the occupation date. Minor textual and punctuation corrections have also been made to the English version.
- Model Written Statement Amendments: Minor errors have been rectified.
- Guidance Note Revisions for Form RHW17: Previous guidance on converted contracts that are no longer applicable has been removed. We note that RHW17's relevance has diminished for our readers as it's associated with the two-month notice period.
Rest assured, we have already updated our occupation contracts with the necessary revised explanatory information, and RHW17 has been adjusted accordingly.
Update: variation statement
It's unclear from the legislation whether a statement of variation by enactment is needed for the changes to the explanatory information.
Sections 128 and 136 of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 require a variation statement when a “standard contract” has been amended. These regulations make no changes to the terms of an occupation contract whatsoever. They change the wording of the explanatory information, which is not part of the contract but must be included in the written statement.
We have created a variation statement outlining the changes for customers. It's been designed for the written statement produced by our Tenancy Builder but may be suitable for other written statements.
You may download the variation statement here. It can be emailed (assuming you've used our contracts and included the contract holder's email for service of documents), and there is nothing to fill in the form - it can be sent as is. Where a variation statement is necessary, it must be given to the contract holder within 14 days of the change.
Updates for England and Wales
With the increasing adoption of electric vehicles and associated charging needs, we have reflected these developments in our residential tenancy agreements, including assured shorthold tenancies and occupation contracts.
Electricity Fair Use and Vehicle Charging
To address the issues arising particularly in HMOs with inclusive electricity and properties with shared areas, we have:
- Amended Electricity Fair Use Terms: These now explicitly exclude the charging of vehicles from "fair use" to prevent unfair electricity consumption.
- Prohibition on Communal Area Sockets Usage: Tenants are no longer permitted to use sockets in shared spaces for charging personal items, such as electric vehicles, following a notable subscriber enquiry.
LandlordAId Chatbot Enhancements
Our online chatbot LandlordAId has undergone a significant upgrade, transitioning from version 2.0 to 3.0, thanks to the latest innovations from OpenAI - the creators of ChatGPT.
While the visual changes might be subtle, the enhancements under the hood are substantial:
- Expanded Context for Answers: The new API allows the chatbot to consider a much larger context for answers, increasing from a previous capacity of about 32k characters to approximately 500k.
- Improved User Interaction: The chatbot's usability has been significantly improved, allowing for smoother conversations and the ability to address follow-up questions without initiating a new search, as long as they pertain to the same topic.
We invite you to interact with the upgraded LandlordAId chatbot on the bottom right of every page and experience these advancements firsthand.
The Guild of Residential Landlords remains dedicated to keeping our members informed and ahead of regulatory changes. Should you have any questions regarding these updates, please don't hesitate to reach out or use our enhanced LandlordAId chatbot for assistance.
Remember, staying updated is crucial for effective property management and tenancy harmony. We thank you for your continued support and look forward to bringing you more valuable updates in the future.
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View Related Handbook Page
Landlords should be aware of the benefits of written tenancy agreements and the procedures necessary for obtaining such an agreement. Although a landlord can create many short-term tenancies (three years or less) without a written agreement, it is generally not advisable for landlords to allow occupation without first having secured a signed formal tenancy agreement.