What We Do

Training for Professionals is the largest provider of lettings legislation training across England and Wales. We aim to help and support Letting Agents and Landlords alike with advice on how best to navigate the constantly changing property management landscape. Whether it’s through training courses, consultancy, or model documentation, TFP aims to make property management safer, easier, more compliant and cost effective. Want to know more? 

News

  • COVID-19

    We plan to continuously add updates here about the Corona Pandemic and how agents can mange and survive it. Check back daily to see the latest. The most recent news will appear at the top of this thread to make it easy to find.

    30/6/20
    We have uploaded some new coming out of lock down and Covid 19 documents to reflect some changes in the guidance (2 metre rule could be one plus, and other changes). The revised documents are R1-3 in the Coming out of lock down info and R2-5 in the Covid 1 documents.


    26/6/20
    On the 23/6/20 the Governement put out guidcance about businesses that will be allowed to open from the 4 July. This does not affect agents who are already allowed to open. However the guidance says all businesses should keep a record of people visiting their premises for 21 days. We had previously suggested 14 days. It would be wise to update the privacy policy and systems to follow this extended time period. The advice can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/opening-certain-businesses-and-venues-in-england-from-4-july-2020

    22/6/20
    From today house moves in Wales will gradually open up. It is not a complete unlocking, rather an easing. Purchases that were already arranged can go ahead. Viewings of unoccupied properties can take place and people can travel further than 5 miles in order to undertake move related activities. The guidance says initial viewing should be online and only really allows viewings and letting of empty properties. These are all permitted through changes brought in by the 6th amendment to the coronavirus legislation.
    Updated guidance can be found here https://gov.wales/moving-home-during-coronavirus-pandemic (last updated 06 July 2020)


    11/6/20

    We have updated the Coming out of Lockdown and COVID-19 documents packs. You will find Advice and guidance for a householder R1-2 and Advice and guidance for working in office R1-2 in the Coming out of Lockdown folder.
    In the COVID-19 folder, the updated files you will find are: COVID-19 Advice for agents R2-4, COVID-19 Email for tenants R2-4 and COVID-19 Information for landlords R2-4.

    8/6/20
    As we expected, the Government has extended the suspension of possession proceeding by two months. This means that there will be no court action for tenants living in private and social housing until after 23 August.

    www.gov.uk/government/news/ban-on-evictions-extended-by-2-months-to-further-protect-renters


    1/6/20
    The Coronavirus Health Protection Legislation has been amended as from today by the amendment number 3 regulations. This completely rewrites regulation 6. Some of the guidance has also been updated. We are currently working through what has changed.


    20/5/20
    The Welsh Government have issued guidance about self isolating if you live in a shared house. Whilst strictly for Wales, many of the principles will apply to England too. It is an area we have raise with MHCLG that guidance is lacking for England. It contains some "interesting" advice including the very logical advice not to share toothbrushes!!
    https://gov.wales/self-isolating-your-shared-home-during-coronavirus-pandemic

    There is also guidance for those struggling to pay their rent. (Last Updated 21/5/20)
    https://gov.wales/problems-paying-your-rent-during-coronavirus-pandemic

    Yesterday there was updated guidance put out for working environments. It is difficult to find so we have a link below. It can also be found if you go to any guide and where is says updated 19 May then "See all updates". This link will take you to the 19 May update and the 5 steps that should be taken. (Last Updated 29/5/20)
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/5-steps-to-working-safely


    13/5/20
    Today is the day the The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 come into force. They change the lockdown rules in several ways but the important part for sales and lettings is sub para (L) that now reads:
    l)to undertake any of the following activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property—
    (i)visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes;
    (ii)viewing residential properties to look for a property to buy or rent;
    (iii)preparing a residential property to move in;
    (iv)moving home;
    (v)visiting a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property;

    From this it is clear the property business can A) reopen the offices, B) do what is necessary to sell or let properties. Agents have always been able to travel to properties but this now says that the prospective tenants and purchasers can also go.

    It does, of course, raise some interesting points. An empty house may not present too many problems but what if the property is currently occupied? It is not uncommon that tenants do not want viewings before moving in a normal market and we can only assume this would be even more likely in the current climate. Then what about the situation where the current tenant is shielding? The Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974 is not changed and under this legislation: "Itshall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way asto ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in hisemployment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks totheir health or safety." This is the start of section 3, section 2 imposes the same basic responsibility for employees.  A member of staff does not even have to fall ill for the agency to have committed an offence, the fact there is a risk is sufficient to commit and offence. Restarting working will have to be done under social distancing rules with sufficient precautions in place to make sure all reasonable steps to avoid harm have been taken. The guidance says social distancing "must" be observed.

    The guidance on moving home has also been updated and they make the point this is NOT a return to normality. They talk about "vacating your property whilst others are shown around" and highlight moves should be planned with the possibility for another lockdown or a delay caused by someone self isolating. The guidance makes it clear those self isolating or showing symptoms should not be viewing or moving (nor presumably having viewings done in their home). Practical advice includes leaving doors open, not having children on viewings if possible, limit the number of people on the viewing, no open house viewings, cleaning surfaces and door handles before and after a viewing. The latest information can be found here: (Last Updated 21/5/20) https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

    Previous guidance said properties should not be put on the market but this new guidance changes that to say you can, with appropriate precautions, put a property on the market.

    Slightly confusingly the guidance talks about washing your hands frequently as though during a viewing people are expected to to this and it even suggests paper towels be provided. Having strangers looking around a property can feel intrusive enough, asking them to wash their hands several times during a viewing may be more than many will accept. The guidance talks about the homeowner having to clean all the surfaces and door handles before and after viewings and as this logically would apply to the current tenant. One can see there is likely to be some resistance to allowing viewings till after the current tenant leaves.

    The guidance says agent should have an appointment system for visiting the office, not a general open office. They and anyone on the viewing should wash their hands or use sanitiser immediately on entering a property.

    Though the moving home guidance has been updated the specific guidance for landlords and tenants does not appear to have been updated as the edit date is still the 28 March.

    Yes we are open for business but not in any normal sense of the words.

    Yesterday in Parliament Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced and extension of the furlough scheme till October. Though the principle seems ot have been extended it appears the revised scheme may be slightly less generous with the employer possibly being asked to contribute towards the money the furloughed employee receives. It is also unclear about the transition between the current scheme and this revised proposal.

    On the 11 May the guidance about working in other people's homes was released. It contains the following important point about PPE when working in someone else's home: When managingthe risk of COVID-19, additional PPE beyond what you usually wear is notbeneficial. This is because COVID-19 is a different type of risk to the risksyou normally face in a workplace, and needs to be managed through socialdistancing, hygiene and fixed teams or partnering, not through the use of PPE.

    This makes it pretty clear it is not a requirement to wear PPE just because you are in someone else's home. The full guidance on working in someone else's home can be found here (Last Updated 29/5/20) 
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/homes.

    The same comment is made about working in offices here: (Last Updated 29/5/20) 
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/offices-and-contact-centres and for shops here: (Last Updated 29/5/20) https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/shops-and-branches


    12/5/20
    Yesterdays guidance on loosening the lockdown does not make any specific references to estate or letting agency. In fact it simply restated the principle that was already in the legislation, work from home if you can and work from work if you have to but in a social distancing way. Other potential changes are further in the future. Guidance is promised about how businesses should operate with staff at work.

    There was a Court of Appeal case on if the Practice Direction 51Z (stopping almost all property possession claims) was lawful. Judgement was handed down yesterday and the mortgage lender who brought the case lost on all grounds. This simply confirms that the current 90 day ban on court cases still stands and is enforceable.


    28/4/20
    Guidance for social landlords on when it is reasonable for people to move. (Last Updated 13/5/20)
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak#social-landlords

    22/4/20
    On the 17 March the Welsh Government issued updated guidance for landlords and tenants. The revised guidance can be found here https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-tenants-in-the-private-rented-sector-html


    21/4/20
    The practice direction that prevents normal housing claims has been clarified that it does not include claims against trespassers and that it does not exclude injunction claims (like getting in to do a gas safety check) only possession. (Last Updated 29/5/20)
    https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part51/practice-direction-51z-stay-of-possession-proceedings,-coronavirus


    20/4/20
    Today is the first day for making a claim for the money spend paying furloughed workers. New guidance on this was issued on Friday and can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme


    16/4/20
    It have been suggested that if a property is empty and cannot be re-let due to Coronavirus restrictions then you should try claiming a Class G exemption. Class G includes:

    Occupation prohibited by law.

    • The property must be unoccupied and unfurnished.
    • Occupation must be prohibited by law (including a closing order or demolition order) or kept unoccupied by reason of action taken under powers granted by or under any Act of Parliament with a view to prohibiting its occupation or to acquiring it such as a compulsory purchase order).
    • The exemption does not apply to actions between individuals or companies under contract law such as restriction orders and does not apply if the property is occupied by squatters who choose to occupy even though prohibited by law.
    As the coronavirus regulations make it against the law to let the property unless the move is "reasonably necessary" then it would seem to fit the criteria. I expect most councils will not have thought of this and being different there may be some push back but got to be worth trying.


    9/4/20
    1121
    Guidance has been produced for different business sectors and how they can work complaint with the social distancing requirements in the work place. It can be found here:(Last Updated 29/5/20) https://www.gov.uk/guidance/social-distancing-in-the-workplace-during-coronavirus-covid-19-sector-guidance It includes retail, construction and maintenance in peoples homes.


    8/4/20
    1117
    With a large dose of irony, MHLC have just put out an updated model tenancy agreement, just we we should not be setting up new tenancies unless "reasonably necessary"! They say it is updated for COVID-19 but it still refers to two months notice for section 21 (and rightly so or the landlord would have to give three months' notice even after the temporary rules are relaxed).

    1024
    This confirms that the rent announcement by the Government is not a holiday but a deferred payments scheme. IE the tenant does have to pay the rent but can pay it later by agreement with the landlord (and possessions require three months notice and are delayed for three months so even if there is no actual agreement, there is little the landlord can do). (Last Updated 29/5/20) https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2020-03-18.HL2766.h&s=rent holiday#gHL2766.r0 However, importantly, the full rent is legally due.

    Whilst on the subject, let us add a comment about rent deferment. It is important to understand three things about this. Firstly any rent deferred is not legally due so will not count towards a ground 8 rent arrears claim. This could delay the point at which the ground 8 trigger happens and therefore delay the possession action. Our advice is that you do not agree to defer but equally you assure the tenant that due to the current circumstances you will not be actively seeking possession for any rent arrears.  you might add that "as long as you are convinced they are paying what they can" or other caveats. This better preserves you position. Secondly do not agree deferment without the agreement of landlord and any rent guarantee insurance company. Not getting agreement could invalidate rent guarantee insurance. Thirdly, it would be wise to get the agreement of the guarantor. This is because anything that increases the guarantor's liability could see them off the hook so make sure they agree as a precaution. (The increased risk might be argued to be from allowing thousands of pounds of rent arrears to accrue).


    7/4/20
    1500
    In no way related to Covid 19 but there has been a new N5B court application form issues. Something of an irony when the courts are closed for part 55 claims so you can't use it for three months! Massive warning, it has ballooned to 18 pages and wants copies of all the gas safety records and tenancy agreements the tenant has had. You might need 3 months furloughed to work out the new form. It is likely to increase the cost of possessions as there is a lot more preparation work to be done.


    6/4/20
    1515
    Guidance has been issued for landlords and managing agents of properties in Wales here (Last Updated 22/5/20) https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-landlords-and-managing-agents-private-rented-sector

    Guidance has been issued for tenants of properties in Wales here https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-tenants-private-rented-sector

    Guidance has been issued for local authorities enforcing housing standards (Last Updated 14/4/20) https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-local-authorities-enforcing-standards-rented-properties
     

    1453 
    Late Friday we spotted MHCLG has changed then notes document they produce to accompany the Form 6A section 21 notice. We don't usually track this document but notices the "last updated" date had changed for the page and this was what changed. The guidance can be found here https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/878101/Form_6a_Notes_revised_01_04_2020.pdf


    3/4/20
    1150
    New guidance was issued yesterday clarifying that estate agents and letting agents do qualify for business rate relief schemes. Previously they had been on a list of exemptions. Unlike the rates grants, which have a rateable value cap, this benefit is available regardless of rateable value. You will find letting agents listed on page 6 (Last Updated 19/5/20) of https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877758/Expanded_Retail_Discount_Guidance_02.04.20.pdf

    0900
    New guidance on EPCs and Coronavirus. As the Government don't think people should be moving then there should be no reason to commission an EPC. If the move is necessary the the EPC can be conducted following social distancing rules. They do say EPCs can be conducted where a property is vacant  (only if the move is unavoidable) but should not take place where anyone is self-isolating, sick or shielding. The full guidance is here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-energy-performance-certificates?utm_source=28b60fef-9398-4f38-9b6a-519b343effa2&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate


    1/4/20
    1544
    House of Commons Briefing paper on support available during the COVID-19 outbreak. (Last Updated 29/5/20)  https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8867/

    1440
    Guidance for small business grant guidance https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877286/small-business-grant-fund-and-retail-guidance-v3.pdf


    31/3/20
    1007
    Right to rent checks are modified during the Coronavirus outbreak. You have always been able to use a live video instead of face to face but they are allowing that you see copies of the documents, not the originals (not normally allowed). The full guidance can be read here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-landlord-right-to-rent-checks

    Note, these checks are temporary and full checks will have to be undertaken when this temporary measure is reversed. As the guidance is that moves should only take place if they are absolutely necessary, there should not be many checks to do. They also reference the fact that some tenants may need a "follow up check" (end of 12 months of their right to rent) and these should be done retrospectively after the temporary changes brought in for COVID-19 have been lifted.

    0900
    We have updated our COVID-19 documents. If you are a Tenancy Agreement, Management Forms, Support Pack subscriber or you have purchased the live or recorded COVID-19 webinar you will be able to download the updated documents from your account on this web site. The documents and recording can be purchased in the web site shop, follow the link at the top of this page. If you are not sure how to access your online account please ring the office on 01258 85 85 85.


    30/3/20
    1050 (Last updated 01/6/20)
    I thought it might be useful to bring all the COVID-19
    links together. So here the relevant ones are:
    Guidance for landlords and tenants
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/876500/Consolidated_Landlord_and_Tenant_Guidance_COVID_and_the_PRS_v4.2.pdf

    Main Coronavirus page
    https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

    Support for businesses (Last updated 29/5/20)
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

    Guidance on claiming Universal Credit
    https://www.gov.uk/how-to-claim-universal-credit

    Guidance to the courts on prioritising applications to adjourn (Last updated 19/3/20)
    https://www.judiciary.uk/announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-message-from-the-lord-chief-justice-to-judges-in-the-civil-and-family-courts/

    Technical guidance on possessions for landlord (this contains a few errors so be careful) (Last updated 01/6/20)
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/876502/Technical_Guidance_COVID_19_PRS_v3.pdf

    General guidance for landlords and tenants (Last updated 01/6/20)
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/876500/Consolidated_Landlord_and_Tenant_Guidance_COVID_and_the_PRS_v4.2.pdf

    Enforcement guidance for local authorities (Last updated 01/6/20)
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/876501/Local_authority_rented_property_COVID_enforcement_guidance_v2.2.pdf

    Further guidance on repairs and property visits (Last updated 13/5/20)
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance#work-carried-out-in-peoples-homes

    Stay at home guidance (Last updated 04/06/20)
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing

    Guidance on cleaning the home to avoid contamination
    useful for contractor visits for cleaning before and after (Last updated 15/5/20)
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings

    Guidance on  shared accommodation and possible infection (Last updated 28/5/20)
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

    Gas Safe Register advice (Last updated 16/6/20)
    https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help-and-advice/covid-19-advice-and-guidance/

    Guidance on moving home (Last updated 21/5/20)
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

    Guidance on self isolation (Last updated 28/5/20)
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

    Right to rent guidance (Last updated 30/3/20)
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-landlord-right-to-rent-checks

    Guidance for small business grant  guidance (Last updated 9/4/20)   https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877286/small-business-grant-fund-and-retail-guidance-v3.pdf

    House of Commons Briefing paper on support available during the COVID-19 outbreak. (Last updated 29/5/20)
    https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8867/

    Guidance on EPCs and Coronavirus. As the Government don't think people should be moving then there should be no reason to commission an EPC. If the move is necessary the the EPC can be conducted following social distancing rules. They do say EPCs can be conducted where a property is vacant  (only if the move is unavoidable) but should not take place where anyone is self-isolating, sick or shielding. The full guidance is here.      (Last updated 19/4/20) 
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-energy-performance-certificates?utm_source=28b60fef-9398-4f38-9b6a-519b343effa2&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

    Guidance clarifying that estate agents and letting agents do qualify for business rate relief (Last updated 2/4/20) schemes.  https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877758/Expanded_Retail_Discount_Guidance_02.04.20.pdf

    Guidance has been issued for landlords and managing agents of properties in Wales here (Last updated 27/5/20) 
    https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-landlords-and-managing-agents-private-rented-sector

    Guidance has been issued for tenants of properties in Wales here (Last updated 21/5/20) https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-tenants-in-the-private-rented-sector-html

    Guidance has been issued for local authorities enforcing housing standards (Last updated 14/4/20)
    https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-local-authorities-enforcing-standards-rented-properties
     

    MHCLG notes document to accompany the Form 6A section 21 notice. The guidance can be found here (Last updated 7/4/20)
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/878101/Form_6a_Notes_revised_01_04_2020.pdf

    Guidance has been produced for different business sectors and how they can work compliant with the social distancing requirements in the work place. (Last updated 29/05/20)
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/social-distancing-in-the-workplace-during-coronavirus-covid-19-sector-guidance 


    0903
    Welcome to week two of COVID-19 lockdown. Over the
    weekend MHCLG put out another guide for landlords and
    tenants. It can be found here (Last updated 01/6/20) https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/876500/Consolidated_Landlord_and_Tenant_Guidance_COVID_and_the_PRS_v4.2.pdf
    Usefully it makes it clear that tenants should expect to
    pay their rent and to utilise support available to do that.
    It say local authorities should adjust their enforcement 
    due to the limited ability of landlords to do works. It says
    where safe and reasonable the tenant should allow 
    contractors access to inspect or remedy urgent health and
    safety issues. They include a non exhaustive list including
    roof leaking, boiler broken, no washing or toilet, fridge or
    washing machine broken, security issues and equipment
    relied on by a disabled person. This is really helpful and
    the link could be emailed to tenants.
    Reassuringly the guidance makes it clear that if the landlord
    has taken all reasonable steps to comply they will not be 
    considered in breach (bottom of page 19). Keep a log of
    all activities to prove reasonability.


    29/3/20
    1115
    The Welsh Government have issues their own COVID-19
    lockdown advice. This can be found here (Last updated 27/5/20) https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-landlords-and-managing-agents-in-the-private-rented-sector-html


    28/3/20
    1717
    Yesterday a new Practice Direction 51Z for the Civil 
    Procedure Rules (CPR) was issued. It suspends all Part
    55 possession claims and enforcement. Part 55 is the 
    part landlords use for possession under section 8 and
    section 21. This applies to enforcement (bailiffs) as 
    well as current and new court cases. There is a 90 day
    suspension from the 27 March. Strangely Practice
    Direction says it lasts till 30 October, one month after
    the change to the section 21 notices, but presumably as
    the suspension is 90 days from the 27 March the October
    date is only relevant if they decide to extend the 90 days.



    27/3/20
    1613
    The world moves fast, if not backward! New movement
    restriction legislation has been passed. It can be found
    here. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/350/introduction/made

    Of note is regulation 6 (2)(L) which explains the reasons people
    are allowed out of the house including the "moving house
    where reasonably necessary". This is not defined but is the
    law (note this is law not advice).

    Earlier in (2)(a) leaving the house for essential maintenance
    and upkeep is allowed. and (f) allows trades people to travel
    to jobs "where it is not possible" for that person to work
    from home.

    Schedule 2 lists business that must, by law, close. However
    Letting agents are not listed but any responsible agent will
    minimise any such office activity, especially if it involve staff
    and public transport

    Interesting these regulation were made at 1300, were laid
    before Parliament at 1430 and became law at 1300 (before
    Parliament!)

    On a lighter note, if you have not seen this it is genius
    and worth sharing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KPbJ0-DxTc 

    Enjoy and have a safe weekend


    0810
    The court service have suspended all housing possession
    cases. This will include all cases where notice has already
    been served, expired and a claim has already been lodged
    with the court. Full details are here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-support-available-for-landlords-and-renters-reflecting-the-current-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

    0740
    The government have issued clarified guidance about
    maintenance workers effecting repairs.It can be found
    here (Last updated 13/5/20) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance Essentially it says the work is allowed if it is
    a direct risk to the safety of the household. This will
    obviously include doing the gas safety checks. They
    should not do works if the household are self-isolating,
    shielding or sick unless it is of an emergency nature
    (gas leak for example). Shielding is where someone
    with a vulnerability lives and is avoid all contact, for
    example they are elderly with a chronic lung condition.

    The engineer should not do any work if they are showing
    any symptoms, however mild. Even if work is done, the
    social distancing should be maintained with the residents
    staying well away from the contractor and both parties
    ensuring cleanliness of the site where the work is being
    undertaken before and after the works.

    Guidance was also issued about moving house. Essentially
    the message is avoid  moving if possible and only move
    where it is essential. The full guidance can be found here (Last Updated 21/5/20)
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak 

    If you do have to have a move then social distancing
    rules should be maintained as far as possible.

    In both of these cases this is very much the advice we have
    been giving all week. Avoid where possible, Be careful and
    keep your distance, Complete only if necessary, ABC!


    26/3/20
    1717
    Without going into the technicalities of why, the Coronavirus Act means that even though have to serve 3 months' notice under section 21, but the normal notice (now three months) still only remains valid for 6 months giving you one month less to take court action after expiry of the notice. A small trap for the unwary.

    1615
    We have just uploaded the latest version COVID-19 documents to the account of subscribers to the Tenancy Agreement, Management Forms, the Support Pack or who attended Wednesday's paid for COVID-19 webinar. The changes are in the documents now call R2-1. There is a new "Agreement to Lease" Document for England that reflects the fact we may not be able to d the move in due to COVID-19 lockdown. We are working on a version for Wales as the Welsh version includes the specified information. We will upload it as soon as possible for clients in Wales. We have also edited the information to Landlords, specifically to ask them not to agree rent deferment without talking to us as it could jeopardise things like rent guarantee insurance. We have also updated the information for agents to explain the section 21 "non changes" explained below.


    1540
    We have decided that we will use this space to tell you about updated documents too. Therefore, while we are in a state of rapid change (documents changing daily) we will not email out telling you documents have been updated but we will log them here.

    We are getting a lot of calls about "new section 21 notices". As below there is no new notice and secondly the courts are not going to give you possession anyway! Please read the post below to explain why it is not a new notice.

    0900 amended 1540
    The Coronavirus Act 2020 received Royal Assent last night. You can find the act here (Beware it is 358 pages so a long read!). Section 81 provides protection for residential tenancies though the implementation of Schedule 29.

    Please read carefully paragraph 6 and 7 of Schedule 29. IT DOES NOT say that the prescribed forms have been changed. It says the forms are "to be read" as if the references are to three months. We stress this as MHCLG have produce revised versions of their forms 3 and 6A (more later) on the MHCLG web site that no longer match the versions in the legislation. Our advice is stick to the forms we provide as this is what the legislation says the form should say. To show what a mess has been made, they uploaded the revised form 6A into the Form 6. This was amended about 10 o'clock this morning. The new form also makes reference to commencement 27 March 2020 (tomorrow as I write this) when it is already in force! (should that be "farce"?) (This has also now been corrected).

    The actual wording of the relevant paragraph for the section 21 notice (para 12(2), 11 is the section 8 notice for Wales as there is no prescribed form for section 21 in Wales) says:

    (2)The Schedule to the Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) (England)
    Regulations 2015  is to be read, in relation to notices given under section 21(1) or (4) of the Housing Act
    1988 during the relevant period, as if in Form 6A (notice seeking possession of a property let on an
    assured shorthold tenancy)—

    (a)in the section headed “What to do if this notice is served on you”, in the second paragraph—

    (i)for “two months’” there were substituted “three months’”, and

    (ii)the words “if you pay rent quarterly, you must be given at least three months’ notice, or,” were omitted, and

    (b)in paragraph 3, for “two months’” there were substituted “three months’”.


    (Apologies for the formatting, copied and pasted). Note the  3 phrases in red text. 1)"is to be read" It does not say the regulations are changed, it says you read it in a certain way. 2) "As if in Form 6A" again is does not say it is change and indeed if it was changed you would not need to read it "as if" as it would be actually changed. 3) Remember we are "read this ", "as if" the 2 months were substituted for three months. Again not changing it but telling you how to read it. The reason is obvious and simple. this change is for 6 months till 30 September 2020. If they changed the prescribed form they would have to change it back again. This way they don't have to make any changes (now or later) and it is just read in a special way. 



    25/3/20
    Today the Government have made two relevant announcements.

    Firstly, they have confirmed that the business rate relief announced for restaurants etc will apply to estate and letting agents for 2021. This is very welcome news.

    The full article can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-19-estate-agents-lettings-agencies-and-bingo-halls-to-pay-no-business-rates-this-coming-financial-year.

    Secondly, the Government have effectively confirmed the advice we have been giving on moving house. It should be  avoided if possible and if it does need to take place it should be undertaken with the "social distancing" rules. This will require a little creativity but it is not beyond the wit of man to come up with ideas.

  • Money Laundering Day

    Today is the day the 5th Money Laundering Directive required individual nations to have implemented the 5th Money Laundering Directive. European directives require legislation in each nation whereas European regulations do not, they are directly enforceable. And don't think that in leaving the EU we won't still comply. Firstly because in order to work with Europe they will require the same sort of standards but also because it was the uK who was pressing for better money laundering rules in the first place!

    However, in reality, for the lettings market this really is a "non event". Don't be fooled by reading about letting agents have to register for money laundering and do due diligence on their clients. Indeed this is what the law says, but you have to read the definition of letting agent and this is where it only applies to a letting agent  who is letting a property in excess of 10,000 Euros a month (about £8,300). This will therefore be a tiny percentage of properties and agents. Searching Rightmove for the whole London area and properties over £8,000 a month today (10/1/20) it finds 2,797 properties listed over £8,000 a month. Outside London you find far fewer. The point is that you are not considered to be a letting agent if the rent is under 10,000 Euro.
    For some agents they may already be registered for sales and any money laundering compliance will be a small step. For the vast majority they will not need to do anything different as they simply don't rent any properties over the 10,000 Euro threshold.

  • LEGAL UPDATE 2020

    As usual Training for Professionals will be running their hugely popular Legal Update course for 2020 after the New Year. This year we have made the decision that it is best run a little later than usual and we felt it would be helpful to explain the reasoning.

    Obviously we have the general election, being held at an unusual time of the year, with a very uncertain outcome. The new Government will then have to organise itself and decide on a legislative program. There are few changes due by April 2020 and we felt we could provide better quality information by delaying the course a couple of months. Therefore, instead of running February/March time we will plan to start a little later. This will ensure we can include the latest updates and will be more likely to know, for example, if the new government will take the regulation of property agents forward and in what form. There is more chance of having an official response to the Section 21 ban consultation and other legislative plans will have become clearer.

    We are aware Money Laundering regulations will change in January 2020 with the implementation of the 5th Money Laundering Directive, having some implications for some lettings agents. However, even these we are waiting for decisions from the Government about the monetary threshold they will choose. We can provide updates on our web site or by email.

    All in all it seemed to us that we could provide a more useful and beneficial course by a small delay and just wanted to reassure you that you had not missed your favourite annual training event, it will just be a little later to make it better.

    Our Welsh Legal Update courses are set to run mid to late February dates and locations to be announced early 2020.

Twitter feed

Very informative, very useful day. Well presented.
— Jennifer Syms, Award Property Management, CAMBRIDGE, Basic Law for Lettings/CA/Oct19
The course is extremely helpful. Not only do you gain knowledge but courses such as these are an open platform in having your own questions addressed & answered.
— Olivia Whale, Tawe Properties Ltd, LLANELLI, Legal Update 2019 Wales/SW/Jul19
The course was well structured, clear and concise and expertly delivered.
— Andrew Ward, Award Property Management, CAMBRIDGE, Basic Law for Lettings/CA/Oct19
Very important information which is needed by every agent and landlord.
— Daniel Peter, Alliance Homes (UK) Ltd, LONDON, Intermediate Law for Lettings/SE/Nov19
Excellent course, very applicable and informative. Enjoyed it.
— Jeremy Scully, Prestige Lettings, CARDIFF, Legal Update Wales 2020/CF/Feb20
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