Training for Professionals News

  • Apr 11/2024

    Court Costs when applying for possession of a property

    As from 1 May 2024, basic county court fee's will increase by 10%. This means the current fee when applying for possession order which is £355 will increase to £391, and the fee for applying for a warrant of possession that is currently £130 will increase to £143.

  • Feb 20/2024

    Right to Rent reforms

    Fines for failure to carry out proper Right to Rent checks have been increased, in the most extreme cases by 6200% (£80 to £5,000!). Make sure you are aware of these new rules to avoid these more expensive penalties. There are also some changes around valid documentation. Come on our Legal Update Course to find all the details of this and other important industry changes. There is one course for England and one for Wales due to the differing legislation (for example Right to Rent is not applicable in the same way in Wales).

  • Feb 14/2024

    PRS Handbook free one week trial

    Online help; 24 hours a day; 7 days a week; continually updated with new legislation; information when you want it and as often as you need it.
    It covers all the major issues affecting letting agents. This instantly available, online resource can help any member of staff with queries on lettings and management. It will also be updated when new laws or court cases emerge.
    Covering both England and Wales.

    Call the office 01258 85 85 85 for your FREE trial of this product

  • Oct 20/2023

    Right to Rent


    New Landlords right to rent guidance has been issue to confirm the Home Office have removed the requirement for landlords to verify a digital Certificate of Application (CoA) with the Landlord Checking Service (LCS) when conducting a right to rent online digital check involving an outstanding EU Settlement Scheme application made on or after 1 July 2021.

    Please see here for the guidance


    Just to a reminder, from 01 October 2022, landlord must carry out one of the prescribed checks before a tenancy agreement can commence

    1. a manual right to rent check; 
    2. a right to rent check using IDVT via the services of an identity service provider (IDSP); or 
    3. a Home Office online right to rent check. 

    Checks usingthe Home Office online checking service do not require you to check physicaldocuments and can be carried out by video call, as right to rent information isprovided in real time direct from Home Office systems. 

    Please see here for the update landlords guide to right to rent and here for further guidance

    The Home Office have updated the Right to Rent Checks: A guide to immigration documents for tenants and landlords, which confirms Landlords can no longer accept or check a physical BRP,BRC or FWP as valid proof of right to rent, even if it shows alter expiry date. It has also updated which documents are acceptable.
    Please see here for the latest guidance


    Further guidance has been released which confirms what documents are acceptable for Ukrainian refuges for them to qualify for the right to rent checks
    Please see here for the guidance

    The landlord guide for Right to rent has been slightly updated

    Points of note in this updated guidance include:

    changes in the way Biometric Residence Card, Biometric Residence Permit (BRC/BRPs) and Frontier Worker Permit (FWPs) holders prove their right to rent in England changes to the lists of acceptable documents (Annex A):

      • amendments to List A, Group 1 and List B to remove documents issued by the Home Office to a family member of an EEA or Swiss citizen, which indicated that the holder had permission to stay in the United Kingdom

      • amendments to List A, Group 1, and List B to remove Biometric Immigration Documents (Biometric Residence Permit) issued by the Home Office

      • amendment to List B to remove frontier worker permits issued under regulation 8 of the Citizens' Rights (Frontier Workers) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

      • addition to Article 4 of the 2014 Order if a Certificate of Application (CoA0 digital or non-digital confirming a valid application to the EUSS on or after 1 July 2021 together with a Positive Right to Rent Notice (PRRN) from the Landlords Checking Service (LCS)

      • amendment Article 4 of the 2014 Order to include an application for leave to enter or remain under Appendix EU to the Isle of Man Immigration Rules and removal of reference to applications submitted on or before 30 June 2021

      • changes and further guidance to enable employers to use Identity Service Providers (IDSPs) to carry out digital identity verification as part of a right to work check (Annex D)

      • extension to the COVID-19 temporary adjusted right to work checks until 30 September 2022 (Annex E)

      • Please see the here for the draft guidance that will commence on 6 April 2022

    It would be easy to miss it but in the midst of the announcement of the national lockdown the Right to Rent rules have been updated. A helpful Home office factsheet outlining the changes can be found here. It is largely dealing with a new online checking service (not to be confused with the temporary remote checking during Covid-19). For a limited number of applicants (those with specific biometric documentation or part of the EU settlement Scheme) they will be able to use an online version of that information to allow a landlord or agent to check, online, and not have to see the physical document. This mirrors one introduced last year for employers, who have similar "right to work" checks to carry out. Though a really good idea the limitation will be that few people have the right documentation to qualify. they have also made it slightly easier for UK national to prove their status by allowing the sort form of birth or adoption certificate, previously it was only the long form. Further information can be found here

    Whilst not an actual change in the rules, the guidance has been updates to reflect the rules brought in last year for the B5JSSK countries not needing a visa on entry. the guidance also stresses the need not to be discriminatory, probably following the legal challenge they successfully defended.

  • Oct 02/2023

    How to Rent update

    New How To Rent Guide and guidance has been released the change has an added section which states - For anyone facing the loss of their home, free Government funded legal advice and representation (legal aid) is available through the Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service. If you receive written notice that someone is seeking possession of your home you should make contact with the Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service at
    Please see the guide here and the guidance here

    After missing last Friday's date we can confirm the How to Rent guide has been updated on the DLUHC web site. This version should be used for all lettings from today forward.

  • Sep 08/2023

    Housing Health and safety rating system (HHSRS)


    Housing Health and safety rating system (HHSRS) and the next steps

    HHSRS was introduced by the Housing Act 2004 but only came into force in April 2006 and has remained in place and unchanged. There are currently 29 hazards that the local authority will investigate  if a property visit is requested by the occupier where the landlord or their agent has failed to respond or respond adequately A hazard is either disrepair, a deficiency or something else in the property that could be a hazard to the most vulnerable person who may occupy or visit the property. Typically this is likely to be the very young or very old. Amongst the most common hazards are excess cold/ heat, the risk of falls and damp and mould.

    The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) published a white paper in June 2022, introducing a plan to fundamentally reform the sector including the proposal to improve housing quality in the private rented sector through the Decent Homes Standard.

    Following a broad based review DLUHC has confirmed that key changes will be introduced to the HHSRS through regulation after the conclusion of the Decent Homes Standard review. The key changes are:

    • reducing the number of hazards from 29 to 21, by combining some of the categories, 

    • make the language in the reports easier for landlords and tenants to understand, 

    • ensure assessments are consistent, quick and a solid base for effective enforcement 

    • ensure fire risk assessments for tall buildings are assessed effectively by combining fire hazard with explosions in the dwelling and the likelihood of harm. 

    Please see here for the full report

  • Aug 19/2023

    DLUHC Disrepair tool

    The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has launched a new "disrepair signposting tool". The idea is to help users of the tool to better understand their rights and responsibilities. This will help them enforce their rights where a landlord may be reluctant to take action on repairing issues for which they are responsible, but will also help tenants understand when their requests are not part of a landlord repairing obligation.

    The tool has been created by DLUHC with third sector organisations such as Shelter. The tool can be found at 

  • Aug 16/2023

    Advertising Guidance for England & Wales

    National Trading Standards Estates and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) have produced guidance that will help agents and their clients when describing and advertising a property for sale or for let. This is so any purchaser or renter has a clearer understanding as to what is being offered, which is material information. Material information is a legal requirement, all relevant information must be declared so the purchaser or renter can make an informed decision if they want to proceed with the purchase or rental. All information must be clear, accurate and up to date at all times.

    Please see here for the link to the full guidance

  • May 17/2023

    Renters Reform Bill

    The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities have put out a press release saying the Renters Reform Bill will be going into Parliament. The announcement can be found on this link.

    The draft bill can be found here 

  • Apr 03/2023


    Wu v Chelmsford City Council - Hearing date 8 March 2023

    Mr & Mrs Krishnamoorthy had a tenancy with Mrs Wu, which commenced on 1 February 2013 for 12 months and periodic thereafter

    On 13 June 2018, Mrs Wu attended and entered the property with a set of keys with her husband and her builders without giving the tenant notice. Mrs Krishnamoorthy was present at the property at the time. Mrs Wu instructed the builders to change the locks on the main front door and to resolve a water leak. This resulted in the builders disconnecting the water supply and removing a section of the water pipes.

    Mr Krishnamoorthy attended with Mrs Wu their local housing office for advice and support. Who informed him they had no emergency housing available and Mrs Wu would have to rehouse the tenants as she made the property uninhabitable. Both landlord and tenant went back to the property. When Mrs Wu left she failed to give the tenants a set of new keys and delivered a set after midnight of 14 June 2018.Chelmsford City Council.

    Chelmsford City Council then brought a prosecution to Mrs Wu based on two counts of breaches from Protection from Eviction Act 1977 & two counts of breaches from Protection from the Harassment Act 1997

    Counts 1 & 2 was due to Mrs Wu changing the locks. 1, when Mr Krishnamoorthy was absent from the property and 2, unlawfully depriving the tenants access by not providing a new set of keys.
    Counts 3 & 4 was due to Mrs Wu interfering with the tenants right to quiet enjoyment by instructing the water supply to be cut off and not offering a reasonable time frame it would be reinstated or alternative accommodation. So the tenants did not have the use of the full of the property

    Mrs Wu was convicted on both counts. Mrs Wu appealed both counts. The court found no merit on the appeal so it was dismissed

    Mrs Wu was issued with a 12 month community order and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £14,000 and £1,000 compensation to the tenants.

    See here for the full court case.

    Lowe v Charterhouse

    This is an interesting case where Mr Lowe (the tenant) made a deposit penalty claim for 10 penalties against Charterhouse (the landlord) as he had stated he had not been provided with the statutory prescribed information at the start of the tenancy. The amount the tenant was claiming for was £120,888.00

    Mr Lowe was a tenant of the Governor of Sutton’s hospital in Charterhouse. The tenancy began on 4 January 2010, with a rent of £2,384 per calendar month on an Assured Tenancy. This was because the annual rent was at the time over the rent limit for the tenancy to be an Assured shorthold tenancy. This meant the security deposit did not need to be protected when the tenancy began. 

    The rent limit increased in October 2010 to £100,000 per annum which deferred the Assured tenancy to an Assured Shorthold tenancy. At which point Charterhouse’s agent had protected the deposit beforehand and sent a letter enclosing the deposit certificate, scheme booklet and the prescribed information. It was unsigned and waiting for the tenants signature and return. Mr Lowe’s evidence was that he had not received the letter in September 2010, even though his witness statements stated he did not recall receiving the prescribed documents.

    Mr Lowe had claimed there was a new tenancy after October 2015 as he started paying a higher rental amount, however this does not mean there is a new tenancy agreement. This then meant as there was no new tenancy agreement there wasn’t a further two tenancies. The Judge was confident there were only eight tenancies in total.

    Charterhouse had attempted to return the security deposit in the way of a cheque, however . Mr Lowe who worked in the financial sector had stated he didn’t know how to deposit a cheque and did not provide bank details for a transfer.

    Claim was dismissed.

    For the full case please see here for the full case

  • Apr 03/2023

    Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016

    A new N5B Wales form and notes has been released.

    This is form is now 16 pages must be signed by the landlord or their legal representative when apply for possession of a property after serving one of the following notices:
     - Section 171 to bring a possession claim under section 170(landlord’s notice following contract-holder’s notice) 
     - Section 173 to bring a possession claim under section 178(landlord’s notice)
     - Section 186(1) to bring a possession claim under section 186(5) (landlord’s notice in connection with end of fixed term of contract within     Schedule 9B) or, in the case of a converted contract, paragraph 25B(2) of Schedule 12 to bring a possession claim under paragraph 25B(6) of    Schedule 12
     - Section 192 to bring a possession claim under section 191(landlord’s notice following contract - holder’s notice on break clause)
     - Section 194 to bring a possession claim under section 199(landlord’s break clause where the fixed term standard contract is made for a term of     two years or more or is within Schedule 9Cof the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016) 

    Please see here for the links to the new N5B form and the N5BA Notes 

    Fitness for Human Habitation guidance has been updated, regarding Inspection and testing of electrical installation. The following paragraphs have been added to the guidance

    A landlord is required to have the electrical installation of the dwelling tested every five years unless the requirements of the previous EICR indicate a shorter testing interval is required. Where a shorter interval is recommended the five-year period will not apply and a future test must be undertaken at there commended interval. Failure to do so will mean the dwelling is considered unfit for human habitation. The current EICR must be made available to the contract-holder within 14 days of the occupation date. Where a PIT (periodic inspection and testing) is carried out after the occupation date the EICR must be provided to the contract-holder within  14 days of the inspection date. In addition, a landlord is also required to provide the contract-holder written confirmation of all investigatory and remedial work carried out on the electrical installation.  This written confirmation must be provided to the contract-holder within 14 days of the occupation date. Where investigatory and remedial work is carried out after the occupation date the written confirmation must be provided within 14 days of the landlord receiving this confirmation.

    A dwelling which is subject to an occupation contract which converted from an existing contract on the date of implementation will not be subject to the requirements of PIT for a period of twelve months from the date of conversion. This exemption will no longer apply to the dwelling should the converted contract end.

    Please see here for the link

    There was recently a consultation held regarding whether the two month notice period for a converted periodic and fixed term Occupation Contracts could remain or if it would default to a six month notice period.
    Senedd have confirmed the result, is if a notice has not been served to the contract holder before 01 June 2023, the landlord will lose the two month notice period and the notice period will automatically default to six months.
    Please see here for the consultation outcome


    Guidance for Fitness of homes for human habitation: guidance for landlords - Update
    The have been a few minor changes to the guidance. 
    •  Request a safe and well visit. Has replaced get a free smoke alarm
    • AN EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) that covers the whole of a newly built dwelling is now acceptable
    • AN EIC (Electrical Installation Certificate) that covers the whole of a newly built dwelling is now acceptable
    This only guidance and we are waiting for updated regulations. Please see here for the guidance.

    Further regulations have been produced which are:
    The Renting Homes(Fitness for Human Habitation) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 - These regulations confirm a landlord must produce a contract-holder a copy of the electrical condition report that complies with the 18th edition 14 days from the occupational date, or when the report has ben completed for existing contracts or when works have been investigated and completed. Instead of 7 days as previously stated in The Renting Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022.
    Please see here for the link

    The Renting Homes(Wales) Act 2016 (Consequential Amendments to Secondary Legislation)(Amendment) Regulations 2022 -  These Regulations correct technical and typographicalerrors in the 2022 Regulations.
    Please see here for the link to the regulations

    The Renting Homes (Rent Determination) (Converted Contracts) (Wales)(Amendment) Regulations 2022 -  These Regulations correct technical and typographical errors in the 2022 Regulations.
    Please see here for the link to the regulations

    The Renting Homes(Wales) Act 2016 (Commencement No. 2 and Consequential Amendments) Order 2022 
    This order confirms the appointed day of 01 December 2022, section 239 Rent Smart Wales 2016 as to when assured, secure and other tenancies will be know as occupation contracts.
    Please see here for the link to the order.

    The Welsh Government released a statement yesterday evening to confirm Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 that was due to come into force from 15 July 2022, has now been deferred until 01 December 2022. This means tenancy agreements and notice periods will remain the same for the time being. Compliance with the Fitness for Human Habitation requirements will not be required until 01 December 2022. We would however strongly recommend that electrical safety checks are carried out and that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are installed regardless as this will still be a requirement albeit a bit delayed. It also ensures the landlords are being diligent in ensuring their properties are safe and that they follow Rent Smart Wales best practice.

    Please see below for the links to the written statement 
    English and Welsh


    Five new pieces of regulations have been issued they are -

    The Renting Homes (Supported Standard Contracts) (Supplementary Provisions) (Wales) Regulations 2022. These regulations state what needs to be included into a standard contract which the contract holder must adhere to. Please see here

    The Renting Homes (Supplementary Provisions) (Wales) Regulations 2022. These regulations define the types of contracts which are either, occupation, secure or standard contracts and what is to be included. Please see here for the regulations
    The Renting Homes (Explanatory Information for Written Statements of Occupation Contracts) (Wales) Regulations 2022. These regulations confirm when a written statement should be issued to a contract-holder, how a landlord can obtain the property as well as defines anti social behaviour for the contract holder or anyone that lives in the property or visitors. Please see here for these regulations

    The Renting Homes (Model Written Statements of Contract) (Wales) Regulations 2022. These regulations provide a prescribed written statement for 
    a secure occupation contract, a periodic standard contract and a a fixed term standard occupation contract for a term of less than seven years. Please see here for these regulations

    The Renting Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022. This regulations define what is considered as fitness for human habitation. Also as I read it all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms must be present hardwired and smoke alarms must be hard wired. Also a electrical condition report must be carried out by a qualified person. The report is valid up to 5 years. The landlord must issue a copy of the report to a contract holder within seven days. Please see here for the regulations

    15 July 2022 all tenancies in Wales will default to a social rented it will be a "secure contract" and for private rented tenancy it will be a "standard contract". Landlords must ensure homes are fit for human habitation and any abandoned properties can be repossessed without the need of a court order.
    For the guidance for landlords please see here and the guidance for tenants here


    The Welsh Government have released a written statement which confirms the implementation of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016. This will come into force on 15 July 2022. One of the changes will mean for a six month contract, if the contract-holder is not at fault a landlord cannot serve notice for possession within the first six months, and the notice must be six months.
    Guidance will be released on 14 January but for the meantime please see the written statement here

  • Apr 03/2023

    Superior Landlords

    In a Supreme Court judgement just released, a superior landlord has been held not liable to a rent repayment order to the tenants of his tenant. Mr Rakusen let his property to a company, KPIG, who sub let it to three sharers. This triggered the need for licensing but KPIG did not apply for a licence.

    KPIG's tenants applied for a rent repayment order against Mr Rakusen. Mr Rakusen lost in the first and upper tribunals but this was overturned in the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court supported the Court of Appeal judgement agreeing the superior landlord held not liable. Lots of reasons in the judgement but in simple terms how could you "repay" rent which you had not even been paid? This is a victory for common sense and superior landlords (who may not have even given permission for the sub letting). We will now have to see if this decision is enough to trigger Parliament changing the law.

  • Dec 09/2022

    Fire Safety Act (England)


    Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022

    These regulations commence on 23 January 2023. The latest guidance released on 6 December 2022,  explains the role of a responsible person.

    As defined in the Fire Safety Order a ‘Responsible Person’ is someone who owns the building (only in relation to the non-domestic parts) or has control over the premises. This could be the freeholder, block management company or an agent if they are instructed to look after the individual properties in the block and as a result manage the communal areas whether instructed to do so or not..

    Duties of the Responsible Person (Buildings over 11m in height)

    If you are the Responsible Person for a building which contains two or more sets of domestic premises and is above 11m in height (typically a building of five storeys or more), the Fire Safety (England) Regulations impose additional duties. 

    It is expected that the Responsible Person, or their staff, should, with simple instruction, be able to carry out the checks to communal fire doors and flat entrance doors, any defects in the doors, frames and self-closing devices that are in need of repair or replacement (e.g. communal or flat entrance door), this work must be undertaken by a competent contractor as soon as reasonably practicable.

    See here for the full guidance


    The government have released The Fire Safety Act 2021 (Commencement) (England) Regulations 2022 which come into force on 16 May 2022.
    This means any property that contains two or more domestic properties must have a risk assessment completed on the structure and exterior walls, including doors, windows and balconies. 
    Please see here for Fire Safety Act 2021 (this made the regulations) and here for The Fire Safety Act 2021 (Commencement) (England) Regulations 2022 that brings them into force

  • Oct 06/2022


    Understanding the possession action process: Guidance for landlords and tenants
    Guidance has been released to confirm the removal of the coronavirus arrangements relating to possession applications and county court enforcements.
    It explains the five stages in obtaining possession of a property, which are:
    - Serve a notice seeking or requiring possession,
    - Making a claim for possession.
    - What you need to do before a hearing.
    - Possession hearings and orders
    - Warrants and bailiffs.
    Please see the link to the guidance here.

    This will be our last update for Coronavirus Act 2022 as the act ends today. As much as England has slowly fazed back to pre coronavirus regulations, especially for Residential tenancies and Protection from eviction Wales remained inline with the Coronavirus Act. From tomorrow Wales notice periods for section 21 and section 8 will revert back to the original notice periods before the Coronavirus Act 2020.


    Landlord and agent right to rent checks were due to return to the pre pandemic checks on 6 April 2022. However today (22 February 2022) the government has confirmed this date has now been extended to and including 30 September 2022.

    This means this following checks can be completed by the following:

    Video calls

    Tenants can send scanned documents by emailing a copy or using the mobile app

    If applicants or tenants cannot provide valid documents the landlord should use the Home Office Landlord Checking Service

    Please see here for the full guidance

    The Tenancy Hardship Grant in Wales is available to assist tenant who have become in arrears due to the coronavirus. The grant is only available to tenants who were not in receipt of housing related benefits during the time of the arrears. Please see here for further information

    Moving home during coronavirus guidance, understanding the possession action process for landlords and tenants and guidance working safely during the coronavirus have all been updated to confirm the measures in place for Plan B restrictions will be lifted. Please see here, here and here for the current guidance updates

    Moving guidance has been updated regarding the changes for self isolating and quarantine
    The guidance states -
    If you are aged 18 years 6 months or over and your are not fully vaccinated, and you live in the same household as someone with Covid-19, you are legally required to stay home and self-isolate.
    If you are aged 18 years 6 months or over and your are fully vaccinated, and you live in the same household as someone with Covid-19, you are not legally required to self isolate. However, you are advised to take a lateral flow test every seven days. If any of the tests are positive you must self isolate. 

    Self isolating can now end after seven days, providing you have two negative lateral flow test that have been taken 24 hours apart. The first lateral flow test should be taken from day six.
    Please see here for the guidance

    The Welsh government have released a easy read for the new Coronavirus rules that take affect from 26 December 2021 until further notice. People that work in offices or public spaces must keep 2 meters apart and if possible to work from home. Please see here for the rules.

    Up to and including the 6 April 2022 any applicant or current tenant that has a Biometric Residence Card (BRC), Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) or a Frontier Worker Permit (FWP) will no longer be able to produce their actual documents to landlords or agents. A right to rent check can only be completed via the Home Office with their share code and date of birth. Please see here for the landlords guide for right to rent checks.

    The Welsh government has announced the period of protecting tenants from eviction that was due to expire on 31 December 2021, has been extended to 24 March 2022. This means six months notice will continue for notices served in respect of all protected tenancies; statutory tenancies; secure tenancies; assured tenancies; assured shorthold tenancies; introductory tenancies; and demoted tenancies, except – in relation to all - where those notices relate to anti-social behaviour or domestic violence. See here for the written statement

    Updated stay at home guidance has been released. The guidance covers when someone should self isolate and if they are not legally required to self isolate, the guidance strongly advises to take daily lateral flow tests (LFT) for seven days. See here for the updated guidance

    Guidance for Moving home during coronavirus has been updated again. Working form home and other measures have been added into the guidance.
    For the most recent guidance please see

    Guidance for Moving home during coronavirus has been updated in the same way by adding a grey box at the top of the guidance that states England will move to Plan B due to the risks of the Omicron variant. See here for the updated guidance.

    Guidance for landlords and tenants have also been updated in the same way by adding a grey box at the top of the guidance that states England will move to Plan B due to the risks of the Omicron variant. See here for the updated guidance

    Guidance for “Understanding the possession action process for private landlords” has been updated today (10 December). The only change is a grey box at the top that says that England will move to Plan B due to the risks of the Omicron variant. There are no other changes to the process for possession and the notice periods still remain to the pre coronavirus state which was in effect from 01 October. See here for the updated guidance

    Further regulations were released on 9 December to come into force on 10 December, which were The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021. These have not only extended the ending date of the facemask provision, which were due to end on the 20 December and now cease on 26 January 2022, but it has added more indoor places where a face covering must be worn. Including large gatherings based in an indoor community setting. Here are the amended regulations

    The guide for landlords, tenants and local authorities on renting during Covid was update at midday today. The update reflects the changes to the court processes that came in on the 1 December. The update version can be accessed here

    An update to wearing face coverings in indoor settings. This is now a legal requirement. Staff that work in an office open to the public are also required to wear face masks even if the offices are only open by scheduled appointments.
    The police and Transport for London (TFL) officers have enforcement powers, including issuing fixed penalties of £200 for the first offence (reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days).

    Please see here for the updated guidance.

    As of today anyone using public transport or going into shops or offices that are open to the public are expected and recommended to wear a face covering (including staff). This also includes estates and letting agents.
    Please note the guidance is not a legal requirement so exemption cards are not required and there are circumstances as to where someone is unbale to wear a face covering. For the full guidance please see here

    There was recently an update to the Working safely during coronavirus guidance. The update has added additional information on managing risks, ventilation, self- isolation and reducing contact. 
    Please find the guidance here and for shops, branches and close contact services here 


    Nov that we are in November the covid adjusted rules are beginning to come to an end. For example, having a review hearing before each substantive hearing will no longer be the norm. It remains to be seen what happens about cases where a review hearing is already listed (probably continue I would guess) or where a claim was submitted before 1 November but was not processed till after 1 Nov (will not have a review hearing I would guess). Practice direction 55C (temporary covid modification to the courts) continues till at least the end of November. This is the part that removes the requirement for a hearing in 8 weeks. Also the need to explain the knowledge the landlord has of how the covid pandemic has impacted the tenant etc. It does not seem possible that court can go from the very long delays currently experienced (we hear of 6-8 months) to 8 weeks by the end of this month so this many get delayed, and even that statement presumes we do not get further rising cases and restrictions!

    The Welsh Government have again extended The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Extension of Period of Protection from Eviction) (No.3) (Wales) Regulations 2021. The notice period given to a tenant for possession, will remain at six months at least until 31 December 2021. Please see here for the updated regulations

    The Government have today released further guidance for Moving Home, which applies to England.
    This covers best practice for how businesses can mitigate risks, carrying out viewings and moving into a property to help reduce the risk of spreading the infection as we head toward autumn and winter. Please see here for the updated guidance.

    The Government have confirmed from 1 October 2021, the notice periods for section 21 and section 8 will return to the pre pandemic. This means for a section 21 notice the notice is valid for six months from time of service and a minimum of two months' notice is required to be given to the tenant.

    A section 8 notice is valid for 12 months form date of service. Depending upon which ground you wish to rely on the notice period can range from no notice period to two months' notice.

    Please see here for the updated regulations.

    TfP will update the prescribed forms for all our tenancy agreement subscribers ahead of 1 October 2021.

    The UK Government has today confirmed that notice periods in England will return to pre covid period from the 1 October, when the current extension till the end of September runs out. This calls into question serving any notices between now and then as a notice served after 1 October may well be a faster route to court. They will retain the power to re-introduce longer notices if the pandemic justifies it. As the prescribed forms for England were updated from June this year it will require new prescribed forms from 1 October. The Form 6A may go back to the pre Covid one but the Form 3 will likely revert to the one from May 2021 that included breathing spaces information. We expect a new prescribed information order so watch this space.

    The Right to rent checks for landlords and agents were due to change on 1 September. 2021. The Government have just released further guidance stating this date has now been deferred until 5 April 2022. Please see the link to the updated guidance here

    The guidance for Moving home during coronavirus has been updated. The guidance also covers, self isolating and quarantine, face coverings and viewings.
    Please see the link to the guidance here


    MHCLG have updated and reissued the Moving home during Covid 19 guide. They have slightly changed the name so the old link and version is no longer available. The new version, slightly confusingly, says "first published" 22 July 2021 but most of it is the same as the last guide, but the name changed a little. The main thing that has been included is the update for step 4 of unlocking.

    At 10:03 last night the landlord, tenant and local authority guidance in respect of Covid 19 was updated to reflect the changes in step 4 of the unlocking. The revised guidance can be found here.

    At 8:03 last night MHCLG issued new guidance on possession claims for landlords and tenants in private and social rented property. It reflects the revised step 4 of unlocking. It can be found here.


    There is updated guidance around step 4 of unlocking from the pandemic and working, including specific advice for working in offices. There is separate guidance for use of vehicles, linked on the same page. It can be found here.Guidance on understanding the possession action process has been updated. The update mainly reflects changes in Wales, where a landlord has applied for possession of their property. From 1 July 2021 bailiff enforcement can once again proceed on the basis the landlord has a valid warrant of possession. Bailiffs do have to give the tenant 14 days’ notice before they execute the order.

    Whether this is with a section 21 or section 8 notice, six months’ notice is required until 30 September 2021, unless the notice is for serious anti-social behaviour

    The guidance can be found here:

    New guidance has been issued for landlords, tenants and local authorities in relation to coronavirus. The update also changes the evictions guidance. The changes have been made to reflect the delay in complete unlocking, now moving from 21 June and delayed for four weeks. The revised form of these documents can be found here.

    Yesterday the Home Office announced that the temporarily adjusted Right to Rent checks introduced for Covid will NOT now stop on the 20 June as planned but will continue till 1 September.


    Wales have just produced the new legislation for the extended rental periods due to Coronavirus beyond the end of June.
    The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Extension of Period of Protection from Eviction) (No. 2) (Wales) Regulations 2021
    These Regulations amend Schedule 29 to the Coronavirus Act 2020 (“Schedule 29”).
    They are very simple and do not reduce notice periods from the current levels but extend the requirement till the end of September 2021. They can be found here.

    Possession guidance updated tonight (1831) to reflect the new shorter notice periods that apply from the 1 June. It can be found here.

    MHCLG have just released a new guide for landlords and tenant on possession. Although the law changes next week on notice periods in England the guidance has been updated today. Notices posted before the 1 June 2021 may need to comply with the new rules depending on the notice service requirements in your tenancy. The new guidance can be found here.

    MHCLG have issued updated guidance on moving home. The changes reflect the unlocking from today in England. The new guidance can be found here

    MHCLG have this morning put out updated Landlord Guidance around coronavirus. It has been updated to deal with the change in the lockdown rules from today. The revised guidance can be found here.

    MHCLG have just announced their plans for reducing notices after the end of May 2021 in England. The details can be found here.

    The Home Office and Immigration enforcement have extended the temporary right to rent checks, which will remain in place until 20 June 2021. This means you can continue accepting a scanned copy or a photo of their documents, have a video call with them holding their documents next to them or online with the tenant present and their permission. From 21 June 2021 you will be required to check the original document or via online where the tenants will need to share a code with you. See here for the updated guidance.

    This morning MHCLG has uploaded a new version of the section 8 notice. Note that it is not exactly the same as the version in the legislation put out last week. This reintroduces confusion about different versions and our advice below from March 2020 still applies.

    Late this afternoon, revised possession guidance was uploaded to deal with the fact that reactivation notices ceased at 1600 on the 30 April 2021. The updated guidance can be found here.

    Legislation has just appeared changing the section 8 notice from the 4 May. The changes are to include information about breathing spaces. However, the really interesting thing is that the periods of notice are the periods that exist outside of the Coronavirus Act. This does not allow the shorter notice periods to be used as you still have to apply the Coronavirus Act wording that the section 8 notice "should be read as if it said" the longer notice periods. Those subscribing to the TFP tenancy agreement or support pack will be able to download a new section 8 notice before Tuesday.

    The Home Office Guidance on right to rent checks has been updated today. They have confirmed that the temporary checks without seeing the actual document will continue till 16 May, matching other unlocking. Critically they have just announced that you DO NOT have to do the full check after the restrictions are lifted on those where the modified check was completed during Coronavirus. The announcement is here. Interestingly the announcement talks in the definite, it says these changes will happen on the 17 May. We would presume this is assuming the lockdown continues in the same direction of being eased and probably takes no account of any change of policy on that front.

    Government advice on home moving and for letting agents has been updated to reflect the changes in the lockdown rules. As all non essential retail can now be open letting agents (and estate agents) no longer need an "appointment policy" for their offices. Social distancing and PPE still apply as before. The updated guidance can be found here.

    Details of the new mediation trial have been published here.

    MHCLG have just updated two sets of guidance. The guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities has been updated to take account of the revised guidance on Coronavirus and what you can and cannot do and new guidance on the mediation pilot. The guidance is

    They have also updated the guidance on possession, including extending the life of a possession order nearing its expiry date as well as the longer bailiff restrictions and mediation pilot.

    The second guidance is here.

    Welsh Housing Minister Julie James has announced an extension to The Tenancy Saver Loan Scheme that was launched back in October 2020. The scheme was only due to be available until 31 March 2021. However the scheme has now been extended until 30 September 2021 The scheme is designed to help tenants by providing affordable loans to clear any rent arrears due to the pandemic, whilst they continue to pay their rent. The announcement can be found here

    Yesterday, Julie James the Welsh Housing Minister, laid regulations extending schedule 29 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 from the end of March to the end of June. This will mean that longer notices will continue to be required until the end of June 2021. The ban on enforcement of evictions will also be extended to the same date. The ban on evictions does not include an exemption for serious rent arrears. The regulations can be found here.

    MHCLG have today updated the guide for landlords and agents on seeking possession during the pandemic. The update is to reflect the rules will remain in place till the 31 May and not end at the end of March as originally drafted. The updated guide can be found here.


    MHCLG have just announced that the bailiffs ban will be extended through to 31 May 2021 and that the longer notice periods will also continue to apply. Legislation will be laid before Parliament today to this effect. The current exceptions for anti-social behaviour, serious rent arrears etc will continue to apply.

    They do not intend to introduce a cliff edge ending for longer notice from the first of June  but are looking at some form of phased reduction. They refer to “transition to the broader programme of reform” which is likely to mean scrapping of section 21, so they may not reduce that at all.

    Modifications to court hearings (review hearings, coronavirus impact statements etc) will remain in place till at lest July 2021.

    The amended regulations can be found here


    New guidance has been published today regarding Shared and overcrowded housing - reducing the risk of infection. The guidance covers shared accommodation including HMO's, shared spaces in communal areas and overcrowding accommodations. 
    The new guidance can be found here

    In true form, the late Friday update strikes again. The landlord, tenant and local authority guidance was updated at 1634 on the 26th Feb 2021. The update is links to the guidance on the changes to the possession rules from the 8 March. The new guidance can be found here.

    The updated The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction) (England) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 come into force today and extend the bailiff evictions ban till the End of March in England. They contain the same exemptions as previously, like anti-social behaviour, serious rent arrears etc. They can be found here.

    Following this afternoon's release of updated landlord and tenant guidance, at 1852 they put out updated possession guidance reflecting the same changes to eviction rules and the mediation pilot. The latest version can be found here.

    At 1502 this afternoon MHCLG updated the Coronavirus guidance for landlords and tenants to reflect the extension of the eviction ban and the mediation pilot that is being trialled. It can be found here.

    Interesting case here about a possession with £70,000 of rent arrears. However the landlord sought possession under section 21 and therefore did not qualify for the possession during the bailiff moratorium. This shows why we have advised against serving notices as this can have significant consequences. Clearly, with in excess 6 months rent arrears, using the section 8 notice would have allowed for the eviction during lockdown, using section 21 did not.

    Yesterday, (14.2.21, don't you just love it), the Government announced that the ban on evictions by bailiffs will be extended till 31 March 2021. The same exemptions that currently exist for things like more than 6 months of rent arrears and anti-social behaviour continue.

    The reactivation notice has been updated on the website. It has been updated to reflect the fact that it can now be served though to the end of April, rather than the original ending at the end of last week. the new form can be downloaded from here.


    On Friday night Practice Direction 55C of the Civil Procedure Rules was amended. This is the part that required a "Reactivation Notice" to be served before 31 January for any claim stayed before 3 August. The date for the stayed claim now read 19 September, but not for the purpose of the reactivation notice, confusing. It is now required to serve a reactivation notice before 30 April, so landlords can leave claims stayed for longer. The period of validity of PD55C was meant to expire on the 28 March, making the last month of the above change void, so they have now extended the validity to the 30 July. This will also have the effect of requiring the coronavirus impact statement on all claims till 30 July.

    The Public Health (Protection from Eviction) (Wales) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 have been passed for Wales. This has the effect of extending the bailiff enforcement ban until the end of March across Wales with limited exemptions. The regs can be found here,

    At 1703 yesterday updated guidance was issued about possession actions to reflect the extension of the bailiff enforcement ban till 8 March (in effect, though notices may be served 14 days before that). The revised guidance can be found here.

    We mentioned on Friday about the extension to the eviction enforcement ban that will now effectively mean no bailiff evictions till 8 March. This does not mean cases cannot go to court, only that bailiffs will not enforce. However there is one small difference from the Christmas evictions ban in that the Christmas ban required 9 months of rent arrears predating Coronavirus. The amended regulations, The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction) (England) Regulations 2021, only require 6 months of rent arrears and it does not stipulate these have to have accrued before Coronavirus. The equivalent Christmas ban in Wales has been extended till the end of March.


    At 6pm this evening MHCLG issued updated guidance for landlords and tenant in relation to the lockdown. It can be found here.

    Updated advice on EPCs during lockdown has been released. It does not radically change the 'do it where this is safe and possible' advice
    . It can be found here.

    The government have just announced the ban on enforcing court orders will be extended in England and Wales till 22 February, at least. Note the 'at least' and they have clearly indicated it could be extended further. As the 22nd would be the first day bailiffs could serve 14 days notice of eviction the first evictions will not be till the 8th March at the earliest. As with the eviction ban over Christmas this will not cover the most serious cases of anti-social behaviour and rent arrears. Possession hearings will continue, the judgement simply will not be enforced. The press release can be found here.

    The government guidance on moving home has just been updated to reflect the "lockdown" that is currently in place. It can be found here.

    The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.3) and (All Tiers) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 amend The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020. Although the talk of a "national lockdown" these regulations actually this by putting all areas of England into Tier 4. Although legislation was passed before Christmas suspending almost all enforcement of court orders over Christmas and until the 11 Jan, as explained below, the original letter sent to bailiffs said to suspend evictions in any area that was locked down, and also over the Christmas period. The regulations that brought this into law automatically lapse on the 11th Jan but we can reasonably expect further legislation extending this for the period in which all areas are locked down.

    Yesterday MHCLG sent out the following re Coronavirus:


    Further to the announcement at the weekend regarding the introduction of Tier 4, we wanted to get in touch to clarify what this means for renters. All measures currently in place – longer notice periods of six months, court rules and arrangements and restrictions on bailiff enforcement will continue to apply across all local tiers, including Tier 4.

    The current regulations regarding bailiff enforcement are in place until 11 January. This means that no eviction notices are to be served until 11 January at the earliest except in the most serious cases and, given the 14-day notice period required, no evictions are expected to be enforced until 25 January 2021. 

    The measures requiring landlords to provide longer notice periods of 6 months except in the most serious cases, such as anti-social behaviour and rent arrears of more than 6 months, apply across all tiers and are in place until 31 March 2021.

    Home moves can continue to take place across all tiers and landlords can take steps to carry out repairs and safety inspections across all tiers, provided these are undertaken in line with public health advice and the relevant coronavirus (COVID-19) legislation. Any relevant local advice should also be followed.

    Financial support measures also remain in place across all tiers – the Job Retention and Self Employment Support Scheme have recently been extended until the end of April and the application window for the mortgage payment holiday has been extended until the end of March 2021.

    We have updated our COVID-19 and Renting guidance to reflect that the national restrictions have ended and the return toa local tier approach. The updated guidance can be found at: (Last updated 19/02/21)

    The updated guidance on navigating the possession process for landlords and tenants in the social and private rented sectors is available at (Last updated 19/02/21)

    The Government is keeping the policy in this area under review and will provide more information on next steps in due course. We have taken unprecedented action to support renters during the pandemic and will continue to do so. 

    Updated guidance on the court processes for possession has been issued this morning. It can be found here. It has been updated for Tier 4 .

    1628 MHCLG have just (1620) released updated guidance for Landlords, Tenants and Local Authorities in relation to Covid 19. The changes are to reflect the new Tier 4 situation. The guidance can be found here.

    1331 An updated moving home guide has just been issued to reflect the new Tier 4. It can be found here. The changes confirm the housing market can remain open in all tiers, including the new tier 4 and that agents can continue operating in a Covid safe manner.

    Saturday's announcement of lock-down does not look to affect house moves (sales and rentals). As part of the problem is the new strain of the virus being even more infectious, the precautions already stated in the moving home guidance become even more important.

    The Welsh Senedd have passed legislation suspending possession enforcement over Christmas across Wales. The law can be found here. As this includes serving a writ of possession (which is 14 days long) the earliest evictions will be 25 Jan as in England.

    The Guidance for Landlords, Tenants and Local Authorities has been updated (yes again!). This time the change is to reflect the fact that self isolation has been reduced from 14 days to 10 days as from today. the revised guidance can be found here.

    Although MHCLG have issued a new Guidance for Landlords, Tenants and Local Authorities, the updates are said to refer to shared lounges in specialist sheltered accommodation and retirement housing and canteens in extra care house. This will therefore be on no great interest to most readers.

    A new "Moving Home" guidance was released at 1012 this morning. It is updated to reflect the new tiers starting on the 2/12. It can be found here.

    The landlord and tenant guidance and the possessions guidance have both been updated this lunch time in preparation for the new tiered structure of lock down coming in next week. Landlord and tenant guidance here, possession guidance here. Possession updated again at 1406!


    On the 17 November the guidance about landlords and tenants and the possessions guidance have been updated. They explain that the first 14 day bailiff notices will be served from the 11 January making the first actual possessions from the 25th. This is two weeks later than previously thought. The possessions guidance can be found here. The landlord and tenant guidance can be found here.

    The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020 were laid yesterday and come into force today. They simply give a legal basis for the Lord Chancellor's request for bailiff (and High Court Enforcement Officers) not to take enforcement of court orders for possession during any period of lock down and over the Christmas period, 11 December to the 11 January. They will not apply to trespassers or claims wholly or partly on grounds 7 (where the property is unoccupied), 7A, 14, 14A or 17. Serious rent arrears is also excluded but this is nine months of arrears that must have accrued before 23 March. The full regs can be found here.


    The moving home guidance has been revised this morning to reflect the national lock down. The revised guidance can be found here.

    Guidance has also been issued on producing EPCs during the outbreak. The guidance was originally produced in April but was update 5 November to reflect the new lock down. It can be found here.

    MHCLG has issued updated guidance overnight following the imposition of the new national restrictions. Updated guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities can be found here. The guidance emphasises that repairs, essential and non-essential maintenance and other visits can and should still go ahead subject to them being in line with public health advice. Where a landlord is prevented from carrying out their obligations local authorities are advised to take a pragmatic approach. Work on the property should not take place in all but the most extreme emergencies if someone has tested positive or is self-isolating.

    Possession guidance here is updated to state that bailiffs have 'been asked' not to enforce evictions during the national restrictions and refers to the break on evictions between 11 Dec and 11 Jan. A press release here though identifies when evictions may still proceed including for example anti-social behaviour or where fraud induces the grant of a tenancy.

    3/11/20 1918
    The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No.4) Regulations 2020 were laid before Parliament today. They can be found here. They are made under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984. As in March the basis is the you cannot leave your home without a reasonable excuse (regulation 5). Ignoring general reasons, such as to take exercise or to buy goods, reasons relevant to lettings include in 6(2)(g) a list of activities in relation to the sale or rental of a property. Regulation 4(a) allows for going to work where the work cannot reasonably be done from home. The ability for agents to continue transacting business does not mean fully open, it means opened with the previous restrictions of social distancing, visits only by appointment, record of visitors and all the other coronavirus precautions. Regulation 8 prohibits 2 people from different households meeting indoors, but regulation 11 in Part 3 allows meeting for the purpose of work or to move house, so a physical viewing, though to be minimised, can lawfully take place, as can a visit to the office. Regulation 14 is the last regulation in that part (gatherings) and requires "the manager" to carry out a risk assessment that would satisfy regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. This would require risk assessments for both offices and viewings/visits taking place in homes. Penalties can escalate as high as £6,400 after multiple offences. The regulations expire after 28 days. The Schedule contains a list of premises that can remain open (part 3, but not specifically stating estate or letting agent), however they do not get listed in part 1 or 2 either so we have to reply on the previous comments. These regulations largely confirm what we had already understood to be the facts, but it is always good to see the legislation. Ignoring the legislation, it would be good practise for agents to minimise contact with staff in the office (work from home if possible, the law requires this) but avoid visits to property too where possible. Indeed there is an argument that visiting for a periodic visit is not "required for the rental" as it is about the management. After all, we all want the lock-down to work so that the restrictions can be removed.

    In the words of the ABBA song, Here we go again! Another national lockdown was announced on Saturday night. As Parliament will have to vote on this measure we do not yet know the details until Parliament agrees. The announcement with some indication on what can be expected can be found here. They say it will be less severe with the plan to leave schools open. The Housing Minister says moving can continue, though it is hard to reconcile that with the "stay at home message" at the start of the above link. The devil is always in the detail and until we get the legislation it is impossible to be sure of anything. The announcement is of a four week lockdown, though in March they announced a three week lockdown that lasted three months! we will update when further details are released.


    The Welsh Government have announced that from Friday 23/10 to Monday 9 November Wales will have a national "lockdown". As all non essential retail will be required to close lettings and estate agents offices will have to close. This is pretty clear for the actual sales and lettings but the ongoing management of existing properties will presumably have to continue (even if managed from home) to avoid a tenant being without heating and hot water for over two weeks. FAQs here

    The Welsh Government announced they were going to provide tenant rent loans to help the rent arrears situation. Details of the scheme have been announced and can be found at

    The guidance is here


    The guidance on working in other people's homes has been updated. The revised guidance can be found here (Last updated 10/02/21)

    New legislation laid before the Welsh assembly today making changes to the rules for notices in Wales. This includes the anticipated change that 6 month notices do not cease at the end of September but continue till 31 March 2021. It also changes the rules around possession for anti-social behaviour by reverting ground 7A and 14 to the position that existed before the Coronavirus Act came into force. Notably, regardless of the level of rent arrears six months notice is required. Whilst this seems very serious, to mitigate it they have provided the rent loans. Full details can be found here

    The Government have announced that from Thursday, 24/9 all retail workers will have to wear face masks. Currently shoppers have to wear masks but the staff don't. This is now set to change and it will affect most letting agents as they will fall into the definition of retail. Minister have confirmed their intention that agents should comply. This will make having more staff working from home attractive as they will not need to wear masks. We await sight of the actual legislation. The legislation is here

    Chris Pincher MP has confirmed the bailiff "truce" will be from the 11 December till the 11 January.

    The courts open today but with very different rules. make you sure don't commence or continue action without being sure you know and follow the new rules. The courts are not likely to be very sympathetic as all the restrictions are in place to protect tenants.

    New guidance for people who are a contact of someone with a confirmed case of Coronavirus, including a legal obligation to self isolate from the 28 September 2020. The guidance can be found here (Last updated 20/9/20)

    Last week new guidance was put out for possession actions, it can be found here (Last updated 17/9/20)

    The justice department have release information about how the courts will work after they open on Monday. This is an update on the guidance mentioned two days ago. The new arrangements can be read about here     They have also issued a range of notices and documents, including a sample reactivation notice. The reactivation notice is not a prescribed form so this one does not 'have' to be used, but it would make is easy. These documents can be found here

    As predicted the Welsh Government have confirmed that the longer notices will apply till the end of March 2021, matching the length announced for England. The actual legislative details are not yet available.

    Further details of how the courts will prioritise cases have also been released. Anti social behaviour will feature highly as will rent arrears of over 12 months' rent (or nine months' rent arrears if the rent amounts to over 25% of the landlord's total income) and domestic violence. As an added delay hearing will need to first have a ore trial "review". 21 days notice is required of this review date and then there must be a further 28 days before the actual hearing. Other rules apply too. The courts may open but this is far from business as usual.

    There is also announced a "pre action protocol" produced by the NRLA about what landlords should do to manage arrears and avoid possession claims. This give 9 golden rules and lists five steps that should be taken before notice is issued. MHCLG and HMCTS will both provide further guidance documents in the coming days.

    New court form N5B is now up on the web site again. This is not the previous one made available again as the previous one was dated 04/20 and this one is 08/20.

    1412. The new limit on gatherings of 6 people do not apply to work so do not apply to offices.

    1100. A new press release has been issued and can be found here It promises "protection for tenants over the winter" and contains some interesting comments. As a press release it has to be read a little less accurately compared to legislation but still interesting. The first point is the interrelation between unlocking the courts and local lock-downs. It makes it clear local lock-down takes priority and not evictions will take place during lock-down(note evictions not court cases). It also explains evictions will not happen where there are restrictions on meeting in peoples homes. Considering there will be a restriction in all areas from Monday, limited to 6 people, how are they going to define what a restriction is?

    Secondly, it says there will be no evictions over the weeks of Christmas, though "weeks" is not defined and both of these measures seem to be regardless of the reason. The paragraph explaining that they will now allow court cases for anti-social behaviour is interesting for the little comment at the end "The only exceptions to this are the most egregious cases, including where tenants have demonstrated anti-social behaviour or committed fraud, and the landlord rightly would like to re-let their property to another tenant." Note the link to landlords who want to re-let, not those wanting to leave the market. This may be a press release loose phrasing but interesting.

    An examination of the new prescribed form regulations shows that the new prescribed from is the same as the version MHCLG issued on the 2/9/20. The new Prescribed From, which can be found here It has been updated from what was issued Friday to remove the cross reference to the notes. The check is that in para 3 it should not have the bit that says “(see notes accompanying this form)”. This change also removes any doubt about which version of the notice to use as there is a new prescribed form.

    A new form of prescribed section 21 notice was issued yesterday. This change is "official" in that they have actually issued a new prescribed from and suspended para 12(2) of the Coronavirus Regulations which made the previous amendments. This is exactly why we warned not to serve these notice at this time. We don't expect any major changes but will update.

    Today MHCLG have uploaded a revised section 21 notice (yes revised since the one they issued Friday!) It is a small correction where they had left a cross reference to some notes that have been removed. For TFP tenancy agreement subscribers a revised version is on the web site for downloading.

    The guidance on moving home has been updated to include information on wearing face coverings. It can be found here (Last Updated 07/01/21)

    For users of the TFP documents we have uploaded revised versions of the section 21 and section 8 notices this morning. Remember that what counts is the date of service so if a notice was posted Thursday or Friday it would need to have been the new notice so may need reserving. Just to repeat our advice at this uncertain time, we recommend you avoid serving notice and get the solicitor doing the court work to serve it as part of the process.

    Revised technical guidance on notice serving is here.

    Today legislation has been laid before Parliament amending notice periods for section 8 and section 21 notices. It can be found here A press release can explaining it can be found here
    In simple terms the section 21 notice has been extended to 6 months and the section 8 notice has been altered so that different grounds have different notice periods. These are now anything from no notice (ground 14 anti social behaviour) to six months long. 


    A small revision to the practice direction on possession has been issued and can be found here It simply replaces the August court dates with the September ones. It does not change the 3 August date after which the reactivation notice was not needed.

    The Welsh Government have issued updated guidance around the extension of the court suspension till 20 September. It happens through the same legislation as England. The updated guidance is here (Last updated 27/10/20)

    21/8/20  1700 
    The Government have announced that notice periods will be extended to 6 months until 31 March 2021 in England. Again we are awaiting the details and we will update this page when we have them.


    Looks like court possession dates have been pushed back to the 20 September. Not got the details yet but it is very much as we expected in some form.

    We were made aware last Friday (14/8/20) that the N5B court application form for accelerated possession had "disappeared" from the internet. We initially thought this was purely administrative. We contacted MHCLG but have not yet seen any response and the form is still missing. The question has to be is this related to the "further measures" the Housing Minister referred to in his comments that we reported on the 27 July, below? Watch very closely in the next few days leading up to the courts reopening on Monday.


    On 11 August the Welsh Government announced that from September 2020 they are introducing a scheme to help tenants pay any arrears dating back from 1 March 2020. Once the tenant has applied, and if successful, the loan will be paid directly to the landlord. The tenant will have up to 5 years to pay the 1% interest loan back to the provider. This will mean that landlords will not be able to evict the tenant for serious rent arrears. 

    On the 20 July Robert Jenrick, the Minster for Housing, Communities and Local Government replied to a question from Wera Hobhouse, an MP for Bath and said he hoped to make an announcement  in the coming weeks to further help renters facing eviction. He said:

    “For several weeks I have been in exactly those sorts of conversations with the Lord Chancellor who holds the relationship with the judiciary and with the Master of the Rolls.

    “The Lord Chancellor has already set out some initiatives today and I’m hopeful that further announcements will be made shortly to provide exactly the kind of protection that she’s asking for.”

    This supports our view that the practice direction changes announced last week are not the end of the matter, but rather the first step in a range of measures.

    On the 10 July new regulations were laid in respect of working during Corona virus in Wales. They repealed the previous version of the regulations and basically rewrite the rules. They were amended again on the 27th July and importantly the rule about only doing viewings on accompanied properties has been removed allowing viewings in Wales of occupied or unoccupied properties. (updated 28/7/20)

    With the introduction of the requirement to wear face coverings in "shops" as from today the question arises as to whether this applies to agents premises. The regulations, The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 can e found here Whilst there is no definitive answer we believe it does apply as the guidance covers shops and "branches" and lists things like banks and post offices. See regulation 2 where shops are defined as "any building, room or other indoor establishment which is open to the public in whole or in part and is used wholly or mainly for the purposes of retail sale or hire of goods or services, but not including the premises listed in Part 2 of the Schedule". Agents are not listed in Schedule 2. Essentially we see the difference being a question of if in normal times you would expect people to walk in off the street (even if fee paying entry) whereas the office guidance is for locations where staff or the occasionally arranged visitor comes. Those working in shops are not required to wear face coverings but it is recommended. Offices where staff cannot be spread out sufficiently may already be wearing face coverings. This is not about the wearer "catching" something it is about the wearer wearing it to protect other people so clearly it would make sense for staff to wear face coverings to show they care about those who visit the premises.

    Yesterday (23 July) new regulations were laid is Wales that say that any section 21 notice served from today (24 July) has to be at least six months long. A similar rule applies to section 8 notices unless possession is being sought on grounds 7A or 14, when it remains at 3 months. It does not affect notices already served and still only applies up to end of the "relevant period", currently 30 September 2020, but the Coronavirus Act allows for this time  "relevant period" to be extended (the act covers a period of 2 years!).

    Following on from the announcement on Friday about court hearings from the 23 August, yesterday the draft practice direction was published. Claims made before 3 August (and that don't yet have a final possession order in place) are immediately stayed and will need a "reactivation notice" before they recommence. The reactivation notice will have to be served for 42 days and be served after 23 August (an immediate 6 week delay). It must be accompanied by an up to date rent history of the last two years (or presumably since the beginning of the tenancy if less than 2 years) and information about the impact of Coronavirus on the tenant (for example if they were furloughed. lost their job, were vulnerable and shielding etc. This notice asks the court to proceed with the claim and a copy must be given to the court and the tenant. If the reactivation notice is not served by 29 Jan 2021 then the cases will be automatically stayed.

    For claims made after 3 August 2020 the reactivation notice won't be necessary but will have temporary rules till 28 March 2021 (unless extended). These temporary rules, for example, remove the normal requirement to hear a case within 8 weeks. This allows a much longer potential delay till a hearing. Though the reactivation notice is not required the landlord will still be required to set out what he knows about the impact of Coronavirus on the tenant. This applies for section 8 claims and accelerated possession claims. As we have said before, during these times our advice is that landlords who have to go to court engage a competent solicitor to carry out the whole process.

    On Friday evening new regulations were published that start the process of amending how courts will wok after 23 August. We don't yet have all the details but these will no doubt come out in the coming weeks. If you served notice or had a case running before the lock down you will have to serve a reactivation notice. The regs we do have can be found here Expect limited access to courts and more delays. Claimants will have to identify the impact of Coronavirus on their tenants. This is clearly an unusual situation and all landlords would be well advised to have a solicitor carry out the whole process, from serving notice to court action to ensure these new rules are followed.

    Probably the most useful read is the explanatory memorandum. 


    We have been made aware of this link to Coronavirus guidance in many different languages. (Last updated 15/12/20) 

    As we head to a time when the courts open the question of which section 21 notice to use will become important. First the MHCLG advice is that agents and landlords should avoid serving notice if possible. Although the courts will start hearing case from the 24 August, there is a working group looking at this and they may not hear all types of case. For example, they may not hear mandatory rent arrears or section 21 cases, to allow the judge discretion. Secondly, if you do have to serve notice we always say that the safest thing is to get the solicitor who will take it to court to serve the notice as then they will be happy with the notice and how it was served. As it is unclear if the Coronavirus Act actually changed the notice or simply changed how the notice should be read (the language in the legislation). Users of the TFP tenancy pack will have to decide whether they want to use the old, the new, or both, notices if they serve them themselves. Sadly interpretation of legislation is usually through court cases but with all court cases suspended there is no way of getting clarification till it is too late. Thirdly, with section 8 notices, we are now about two and a half months till the Coronavirus Act expires (assuming it is not extended). Therefore from the latter part of July onward it may be better to not serve section 8 for three months but to wait till the end of September and then just serve 14 days notice for rent arrears. Your choice but at least consider the best option. Obviously for section 21 notices this will only apply from the beginning of September.

    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.

    On the 23/6/20 the Government put out guidance 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 (last updated 14/01/21)

    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 (Last updated 11/01/21)


    We have updated the Coming out of Lock down 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 Lock down 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.

    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.

    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.

    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!! (Last updated 29/09/20)

    There is also guidance for those struggling to pay their rent. (Last updated 02/12/20)

    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 10/02/21)

    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: "It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their 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 07/01/21)

    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 managing the risk of COVID-19, additional PPE beyond what you usually wear is not beneficial. This is because COVID-19 is a different type of risk to the risks you normally face in a workplace, and needs to be managed through social distancing, 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 10/02/21)

    The same comment is made about working in offices here: (Last updated 10/02/21) and for shops here: (Last updated 10/02/21)

    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.

    Guidance for social landlords on when it is reasonable for people to move. (Last updated 07/01/21)

    On the 17 March the Welsh Government issued updated guidance for landlords and tenants. The revised guidance can be found here

    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 11/06/20),-coronavirus

    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 (Last updated 17/12/20)

    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.

    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 10/02/21) It includes retail, construction and maintenance in peoples homes.

    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).

    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) 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).

    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.

    Guidance has been issued for landlords and managing agents of properties in Wales here (Last updated 27/10/20)

    Guidance has been issued for tenants of properties in Wales here

    Guidance has been issued for local authorities enforcing housing standards (Last updated 02/07/20)

    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 (Last updated 29/08/20)

    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 19/05/20) of

    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 (Last updated 08/01/21)

    House of Commons Briefing paper on support available during the COVID-19 outbreak. (Last updated 16/02/21)

    Guidance for small business grant (Last updated 08/20) guidance

    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

    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.

    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.

    1050 (Last updated 08/20)
    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

    Main Coronavirus page

    Support for businesses (Last updated 10/02/21)

    Guidance on claiming Universal Credit

    Guidance to the courts on prioritising applications to adjourn (Last updated 19/3/20)

    Technical guidance on possessions for landlord (this contains a few errors so be careful) (Last updated 08/20)

    General guidance for landlords and tenants (Last updated 19/02/21)
    Enforcement guidance for local authorities (Last updated 19/02/21)

    Further guidance on repairs and property visits (Last updated 14/01/21)

    Stay at home guidance (Last updated 22/02/21)

    Guidance on cleaning the home to avoid contamination
    useful for contractor visits for cleaning before and after (Last updated 16/10/20)

    Guidance on  shared accommodation and possible infection (Last updated 15/02/21)

    Gas Safe Register advice (Last updated 25/01/21)

    Guidance on moving home (Last updated 07/01/21)

    Guidance on self isolation (Last updated 15/02/21)

    Right to rent guidance (Last updated 30/3/20)

    Guidance for small business grant  guidance (Last updated 08/20)

    House of Commons Briefing paper on support available during the COVID-19 outbreak. (Last updated 16/02/21)

    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 08/01/21)

    Guidance clarifying that estate agents and letting agents do qualify for business rate relief (Last updated 02/04/20) schemes.

    Guidance has been issued for landlords and managing agents of properties in Wales here (Last updated 27/10/20)

    Guidance has been issued for tenants of properties in Wales here (Last updated 06/07/20)

    Guidance has been issued for local authorities enforcing housing standards (Last updated 02/07/20)

    MHCLG notes document to accompany the Form 6A section 21 notice. The guidance can be found here (Last updated 29/08/20)

    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 10/02/21) 

    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 08/20)
    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.

    The Welsh Government have issues their own COVID-19
    lockdown advice. This can be found here (Last updated 27/10/20)

    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.

    The world moves fast, if not backward! New movement
    restriction legislation has been passed. It can be found

    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

    On a lighter note, if you have not seen this it is genius
    and worth sharing 

    Enjoy and have a safe weekend

    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 (Last updated 19/02/21)

    The government have issued clarified guidance about
    maintenance workers effecting repairs. It can be found
    here (Last updated 14/01/21) 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 07/01/21) 

    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!

    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.

    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.

    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. It is unclear if this actually changes the notice or is just read in a different way. Users will have to make a decision as to whether to use the existing version of the MHCLG version, or even to serve both as a precaution.

    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

    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.

  • Sep 16/2022

    Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

    TFP's office and helpline service will be closed on Monday 19th September as we mark the public bank holiday to say our farewell to HM Queen Elizabeth II

  • Sep 09/2022

    Death of Her Majesty the Queen

    HM Queen Elizabeth II 1926 – 2022


    Today, we wake up to a sense of sorrow and loss knowing that Queen Elizabeth II, died at Balmoral yesterday afternoon. She was Britain’s longest serving monarch and carried out her royal duties with grace, dignity and sincerity wherever she went.

    She was a mother, a wife, a friend, a Queen, Britain’s‘first’ Lady and devoted to her faith.

    It is with admiration we remember the countless days and hours she dedicated to serving our Nation, the Commonwealth and the rest of the world.

    It is with a deep level of affection and respect we now say farewell to Queen Elizabeth II — we will remember you.


    David and the rest of the team at Training for Professionals.

  • Aug 03/2022

    The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022

    Any new tenancy that begins on or after 01 October, landlords must ensure there is a proper working smoke alarm on each floor that has living accommodation.
    Landlord must also ensure for all new and existing tenancies, there is a proper working carbon monoxide alarm for any room that has a fixed combustible appliance (excluding gas cookers). 
    If a tenant reports a faulty alarm, the landlord is required to investigate and repair or replace the alarm if required.
    Please see here for the updated regulations.
    Please see here for the latest guidance.

  • Jun 16/2022

    Government White Paper - Housing



    Please see here for the link for the White Paper that was released today.

    Today, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities have published the contents of what is being discussed in Parliament for private and social renters.  
    It includes:
    - Ending the injustice of unfit homes and help protect renters from rising costs,
    - Banning section 21 'no fault' evictions and extend the Decent Homes Standard
    - Ending arbitrary rent review clauses, giving tenants stronger powers to challenge poor practice, unjustified rent increases and enabling tenants to be repaid rent for non-decent homes,
    - Making it illegal for landlords and agents to have blanket bans on renting to families with children or those in receipt of benefits,
    - Giving tenants the right to request a pet, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse.

    Please see the link below which gives further details as to what is being covered. We will update our webpage once the White paper is published.

    The long-awaited Housing White Paper was released to the public on 7 February by the Department for Communities and Local Government. This brief summary focuses only some of the key issues for the private rented sector.

    In the foreword, Prime Minister Theresa May reiterates that one of the greatest barriers to building a stronger Britain is the broken housing market. She went on to explain that by building more homes, prices on houses will fall which again will result in a reduction on rent levels for rented property.

    The Government confirms its intention to ban agent fees and hope to bring forward legislation “as soon as Parliamentary time allows”. It also wants to continue building on existing incentives in order to attract major institutional investment in new large-scale housing which is purpose-built for market rent. For these types of build, the Government will work with other organisations to actively promote and encourage three-year tenancies. It will also look closer at how to encourage longer tenancies in private rented property.

    Banning orders to remove rogue landlords will be introduced as suggested in the Housing and Planning Act 2016. Other potential measures under consideration are mandatory electrical checks, client money protection for letting agents and extending mandatory licensing of HMOs. Many of the suggested changes are not really new to the private sector and we will have to await the outcome of the consultation and further legislation. The paper, ‘Fixing our broken housing market’, can be found at

  • May 17/2022

    New Smoke Alarm Regulations

    Draft regulations for The smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendments) Regulations 2022 for England have been released. From 01 October 2022 a landlord will need to ensure that during any period of a tenancy a smoke alarm is on every floor and a carbon monoxide alarm is installed which contains a fixed combustion appliance (excluding a gas cooker).
    If at anytime during the tenancy it is reported one of the alarms is not in proper working order the landlord is required to investigate this and if the alarm is not in proper working order they must repair or replace the alarm
    Please see here for the draft regulations

    DLUHC have announced that the new regulations on smoke and carbon monoxide alarms will be introduced in the Autumn 2022 (obviously subject to unforeseen war and pandemics!)

    These new regulations, for England only, will require carbon monoxide alarms in any room with a fuel burning appliance (not just solid fuel as now), apart from a cooker. It will also require landlords to repair or replace alarms if they stop working.

    We have been lobbying to get more flexibility in the checking of alarms, rather than only on the day of move in. It won't affect safety but will make it easier and cheaper to comply.

    Not relevant to the PRS but the regs are being extended to the social housing sector. The relevance is that there could be quite a lot of demand for alarms in the next few months so planning to get ahead on this would be a wise move, don't leave it till the last minute.

  • Apr 14/2022

    Section 21

    The long running gas where a landlord failed to provide a copy of the gas safety record to the tenant, even though there was a vail record at the time of move in, has finally come to a close. The landlord, Trecarrel House, won in the Court of Appeal by a 2 to 1 majority. The tenant sought to overturn this judgment in the Supreme Court.

    In order to take the appeal further permission to appeal would have been needed and this has been refused on the basis that the case does not raise an important point of law of wider interest. The facts of the case were a little unusual in that it was about displaying the record (as it was a situation where there was not actual gas in the room being rented and this is covered by regulation 36(7)), however also part of the decision making process may have been the fact that the case would be being heard at a time when we are going to lose the section 21 notice anyway.

    One might argue this is a victory for landlords, though in truth this would make it a pyric victory as all landlords will lose the right o section 21 under current plans. Further news about those plans are due out "in the spring" with DLUHC unwilling to commit to any more specific time scale. AS this change will require primary legislation it is likely that this could be launched in the autumn with legislation often taking a year to get through Parliament so a best guess would be that from sometime in 2023 the whole assured shorthold tenancy and section 21 notice will be abolished. The plan was announced that it would not affect existing tenancies, only those created after the new law comes into force.

  • Sep 28/2021

    Fire Safety Act (Wales)

    The Fire Safety Act 2021, amends the Fire Safety Order 2005 (application to premises). To clarify all buildings that contains two or more domestic premises to include the buildings structure and external walls, all doors between domestic and common parts. External walls include windows and balconies Require a fire safety assessment.  A commencement date for Wales has now been confirmed which will be 1 October 2021. We are still waiting for conformation when the commencement date will be in England. Please see here for The Fire Safety Act 2021(Commencement) (Wales)Regulations 2021  

  • Nov 23/2020

    Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Consultation

    A consultation has been launched on amending the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations.

    Social landlords would be brought into the requirement to provide alarms and private landlords would be given a specific requirement to repair or replace smoke alarms (not in the original regulations). There would not be a requirement on landlords to test the alarms, the view is that the tenant should continue to do this.

    The proposals also suggest requiring carbon monoxide alarms in any room where there is a fuel burning appliance, other than a  gas cooker. Currently they are only required for solid fuel burning appliances so this would bring oil and gas burning appliances into the requirements. The full consultation can be found here.

    The consultation only applies to England and closes the 11 January 2021.

  • Jul 20/2020

    Electrical Gudiance

    Unclear guidance
    In June updated guidance was issued, and withdrawn. This was because the guidance contradicted itself. However it has raised an issue that is worth exploring and to do this we need to go back to the legislation, not the guidance.

    The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 are the relevant piece of legislation. In regulation 1 it says they come into force for "new specified tenancies" from the 1 July. So far so good and for all existing specified tenancies from the 1 April 2021.

    Regulation 2 gives us the definition of a "new specified tenancy" and this is any tenancy granted after the regs came into force. The regs came into force on the 1 June 2020. This creates a small anomaly that tenancies starting after the 1 June have to have a check by 1 July.

    Reading further regulation 3(1)(c) says that "new specified tenancies" have to have a check before the tenancies commences. 
    We therefore have three elements and it would be possible to match two of them but not all three. It would be possible to have "new specified tenancies" (commenced from the 1 June) and requiring an electrical safety check by the 1 July, but then you cannot also require the check before they commenced. If read to mean that they apply to any new tenancy granted after 1 July, the it is quote possible for the check to be done before the tenancy commences. It is not clear how all three requirements can be met for tenancies granted from 1 June. Although originally it was believed these tenancies would not require any check till April 2021, readers may want to choose the cautious route and get one done now to make sure they are covered.

    Therefore the reason the guidance has a problem expressing the requirements of the legislation is that the requirements in the legislation are pretty impossible to reconcile with themselves. Although the Government have reverted to the original guidance which is very clear that it applies to tenancies signed after 1 July, the NRLA state that the government have confirmed to them that they intend it to apply to tenancies signed from the 1 June and those tenancies had till 1 July to comply. Comply is an interesting word as, as explained above, this still leaves you in breach of regulation 3 as this requires the check done before the tenancy, not afterwards! If this is the government view we would have expected them to update the guidance. Don' be fooled by the "signed" word as the legislation talks about "granted" and this clearly covers statutory periodic tenancies arising after the legislation came in even though nothing is signed. Agents will have to decide which interpretation they want to follow but as all properties will need such a check why not get t done sooner rather than later.

    The TFP tenancy agreement as provided does not go statutory periodic so this last point is not a problem for our tenancy agreement subscribers.

    There is also some confusion about checks done before 1 June 2020. The 18th edition came into force in January 2019 but was available from June 2018 (hence why it s BS7671:2018). However, the 18th edition does refer back to work done under the previous edition and says this is acceptable unless it is a significant safety issue, this is why the guidance says that a check done in the last five years is acceptable unless the previous report said another check was needed in less than 5 years. In respect of new builds, the installer has to make sure it complies to the 18th edition and will produce a certificate to say that it complies, needed to get building regulations sign off. Therefore the building regulations sign off is a report confirming it meets the 18th edition with no faults.

  • Jan 10/2020

    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.

  • Nov 27/2019


    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.

  • Oct 24/2019

    Electrical Safety Standards

    Provisions were made in the Housing and Planning Act 2016, for the Secretary of State to make regulations about electrical safety standards for properties let by private landlords. (Commencement No. 11) brings sections 122 and 123 into force for future regulations to be written.


    As of 25 October 2019 the Secretary of the State has the power to make the regulations which will provide the electrical safety standards to be met by all residential landlords.


    The Secretary of the State will be looking into enforcing regulations for the standards of electrical installations including appliances provided by the landlord, who is defined as qualified, how often the checks should be carried out, ensure a valid certificate is issued to the tenant or prospective tenant and for the local housing authority to enforce any works or fines that maybe required if the landlord is not compliant.

  • Aug 16/2019

    Welsh fee ban guidance

    The Welsh Assembly have released the guidance for landlords for the upcoming tenant fee ban in Wales. It can be accessed here.

    Much of it is unsurprising and lays out the basic requirements contained in the legislation in slightly simpler form. However, the language also seems to imply that they will be bringing in the ban without having set a cap on deposits and some other elements we are awaiting for regulations (like default payments).

    For those operating in Wales, the biggest danger lies in what you read in the media as this is mainly about the law in England. The Welsh law, while very similar, has some significant differences. For example, Wales has 8 permitted payments, England has 10. Wales has not included variation of the contract and early termination in their list of permitted payments, though the guidance contains some interesting information.

  • Jul 18/2019

    Regulation of agents

    This group, chaired by Lord Best, has produced its recommendations for the way forward for the regulation of property agents. One of our concerns is trying to lump all "property agents" into a single scheme. Several of the comments in discussions were not appropriate for some areas of the market.

    They have made a number of recommendations, still to be formally agreed by Government. Essentially they will introduce an agent licensing scheme with a requirement that the staff within an agency are also trained, qualified to at least level 3 and licensed. A list of regulated activities is planned and if any of these activities are undertaken by a member of staff they will need to be regulated. By having individual members of staff licensed it will make it easy for them to work in more than one agency or to change jobs.

    They propose a regulator to oversee compliance. The details of this will be important as there is a danger of yet another regulator or body. With redress schemes, local councils, local Trading Standards, The National Trading Standards team in Bristol, deposits schemes, trade bodies and now another regulator, the chances of a tenant being able to know to whom they should complain is limited. As an alternative, but this is probably dreaming, why not merge many of these bodies into one single regulator and start a scheme of joined up thinking in the market.

    All pigs fuelled and ready to fly!

  • Jul 17/2019

    Tenant Fee Ban

    The Tenant Fees Act 2019 has passed all the Parliamentary hurdles and now in force (from the 1 June 2019).

    The CMP provision came into force on the 1 April when CMP became mandatory. This part just made some technical changes for the CMP being introduced under separate legislation.

    There are transitional provisions in section 30 about what happens with fees already in a tenancy in existence before the law is passed, but essentially it will be fully in force by 1 June 2020 following a 12 month transitional provision.

    There are a number of surprises (like if the landlord charges a fee he cannot serve a section 21 notice but if the agent charges a fee this does not prevent the use of a section 21 notice). Although talked about (and named) as tenant fees, it also bans requiring the tenant to pay a third party for services or enter into a contract for services. The most obvious issue here will be tenancy agreements used to require professional cleaning of a property, this will be illegal under the tenant fee ban.

    The final guidance has also been produced and can be downloaded the the internet. We have our concerns about a couple of points in terms of their accuracy so be careful with what it says.

  • Mar 01/2019

    Defective Premises

    In the case of Rogerson v Bolsover District Council, a lady stepped backwards while mowing the lawn and fell through a large manhole cover in the grass. The manhole was actually owned by Severn Trent water and was part of the main sewer system, even though it was on the landlord’s land. The lady won her case in the county court, lost on the appeal and appealed to the Court of Appeal. The tenant won in the Court of Appeal and the landlord was liable to pay damages for the accident. There are two significant things to come out of the case.

    Firstly the property had been inspected in 2013 just before the tenant moved in and again in 2014 as part of a standard 10 year asset management inspection. However, there were no meaningful records of either visit and members of staff involved were not longer working for the local authority by the time of court hearing limiting access to first hand evidence. Therefore, the first lesson is that visits to the property should leave an audit trail that remains even after staff changes or the business is sold.

    The second lesson is the consideration of what should be reviewed when visiting the property and the “technical” understanding of the person who did the inspection. Section 11 repairs generally need the tenant to notify the landlord of the need for repair before a liability arises. This claim was under the Defective Premises Act. Two significant differences between this legislation and section 11 are that Defective Premises Act applies to the whole property (not just the house) so included the drain in the garden, and there is no need to be notified of the problem. This lack of the need to be notified is a great example of why periodic visits to the property are an important part of the management. This is not just about seeing the carpet is vacuumed or the flower beds weeds, there are some serious technical building issues to consider and someone with appropriate knowledge should undertake them.

    Whilst the fact of this case were a little unusual, in having a main sewage tank in the garden, the underlying principle about liability under Defective Premises Act is very real. Other cases where the same legislation has been used include gas safety (before the Gas Safety Regs, but therefore could be used for oil fired or solid fuel heating) and a garden wall falling over and causing injury. Thorough checks and details records are the only defence. At the end of the day some things may be impossible to detect and this is probably the most important reason landlord’s should always ensure they are adequately insured.

  • Feb 11/2019

    Fitness for Human Habitation

    The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 was passed on the 20 December 2018. It starts taking effect three months later from the 20 March 2019. Basically any new tenancy granted after this date, including renewals and statutory periodic tenancies arising, will have to comply with the legislation from the renewal. If the tenancy was running periodic from before 20 March 2019 then you will have to comply with the new rules from 12 months later, i.e. the 20 March 2020. If a fixed term tenancy is running before 20 March 2019 then as long as the fixed term tenancy continues it remains outside of the legislation, regardless of the fixed term (see the next point though). The rules for when this new rule applies very closely mirror the section 11 repairing obligations (and it is, of course, in the same legislation). therefore it does not apply to fixed terms of in excess of seven years, provided the landlord cannot break the fixed term before seven years. Also the landlord is not required to keep fit for human habitation any thing the tenant has damaged, fire, flood etc and things the tenant is entitled to remove from the property.

    As the TFP tenancy counts as a fixed term tenancy (based on Goodman v Evely [2001] EWCA Civ 104) this should mean that those on TFP tenancy agreements before 20 March 2019 will have for as long as those agreements last before having to comply.

    This will new law will require a landlord to let, and keep a property fit for human habitation (regardless of rent level). In addition to the old list in section 10 of issues that would make a property not fit for human habitation they have now added the 29 HHSRS hazards as reasons for not being fit for human habitation. It is this latter point that causes the most concern as there is no prescribed standard, e.g. it must not have any category one hazards. This means that a landlord will not have any certainty about committing an offence until the judge decides if it is fit or not.

    The rules remain unchanged in Wales, meaning effective the fitness for human habitation concept does not apply (due to the very old rent thresholds).
    We will be talking about this on our Legal Update 2019 course.

  • Dec 03/2018

    New Form 6A advice

    Law can be very complex and a superficial reading of it can be dangerous. For some months we have been working on the effect of the Deregulation Act 2015 when we get to October 2018. Section 41, dealing with the transitional provisions, states that section 33-38 and 40 come into force for pre-October 2015 tenancies from 1 October 2018. This is what we are all expecting.

    However, it is not as simple as this. Section 33 and 34 deal with retaliatory evictions, and these will come into force on the 1 October 2018 for tenancies created before 1 October 2015.

    Section 35 deals with the periodic notice not needing to expire at the end of a period of the tenancy. This will come into force for all assured shortholds from 1 October 2018. Section 36 deals with not serving in the first four months and though technically it will apply, it will have no practical effect.

    Section 40 deals with the requirement for a pro rata rent refund if the section 21 notice expires part way through a period for which rent has been paid. This will apply to pre-October 2015 tenancies from 1 October 2018.

    Section 41, the transitional provisions, specifically exclude section 39 from ever applying to the pre-October 2015 tenancies and as this is the requirement to give the How to Rent Guide, this makes sense.

    The tricky bit is sections 37 and 38 as both of these are "prescribed" items. 37 is the prescribed form, Form 6A, and 38 is the prescribed legal requirements (currently gas and EPC). The important thing with these is that the regulations that prescribe these two things start by saying the regulations only apply to post October 2015 tenancies, therefore excluding all the pre-October 2015 tenancies. We have been in dialogue with MHCLG about this for some months, even suggesting how to edit the Form 6A (which specifically says it doe snot apply to pre-October 2015 tenancies), and how they might edit the regulations. With Parliament in recess and little legislation being passed in September when the party conference season is on, time was running out to resolve this. We have now been told that there is no intention that the Form 6A and gas/EPC requirements will apply to pre-October 2015 tenancies come October 2018. This is something of a change in understanding and will bring its own confusion. Much as many agents are expecting the changes to apply to pre-October 2015 tenancies from October 2018, so are many solicitors and probably judges too. It will be important for agents to be able to explain why they do not apply (because the regulations say they don't apply) if it is questions in court or by the local authority.


  • Nov 05/2018

    Domestic Energy Efficiency

    From 19 December 2017 to 13 March 2018 a consultation was run to amend the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 was run. It received 198 responses. The Government have now release the responses to the consultation and given in indication of their thinking of how they will make changes.

    The consultation proposed a range of amounts of money a landlord would have to fund to get a property out of band F or G. The maximum figure they discussed was £5,000, though they were talking about £2,500. Following the consultation the amount they are suggesting seems to have been increased to £3,500 per property. There are currently around 280,000 properties in bands F or G. If each property spent £3,500 (and they won't all need this much spent on them) it would total just shy of a billion pounds of spending.

    Where landlords can obtain funding from things like Green Deal, they will not have to contribute their own money unless the external funding is not enough to get out of band F or G. Then the landlord would only have to spend the amount of the shortfall.

    84% of respondents agreed that  some sort of funding by landlords should be introduced. This probably gives a good indication of the strength of feeling on the issue.

    This information indicates that this policy is very likely to come into force and it is only a question of when. As it only needs regulations it will not take long but first the Government will produce their full response to the consultation (giving the details) and then the regulations have to be drafted and passed. The originally planned date for this was April 2019 and this may still be possible.

  • Aug 22/2018

    New Court Forms

    All landlords and agents should be aware that there are new N5B, N5 and N119 Court forms on the Court service web site. The update seems to be about now containing a data protection statement with information about their use of personal data.

    Whilst the change may not be considered significant in the content of the form, there is a very real risk that if you use an out of date form your case could be rejected. Always use the latest forms available from the HMCTS web site.

    The new forms say they were uploaded 13 August 2018 and carry the date 0718 in the footer of the first page. Looking at the update history for the N5B is says the following:

    1. Updated N5B Form.
    2. Updated form N5B.
    3. English version updated
    4. That is a pretty interesting revision history if they have uploaded four versions over 16 days.
    5. The N5B for a property in Wales has not been updated as of today (22/8) and neither has the bilingual version of the N5B for houses in England (contains English and Welsh side by side).
    6. The N325 (application for a bailiff) has not been updated, but this is possibly because long before you come to enforce a judgement you will have issued the N5B so they will already have the privacy information.

  • Aug 06/2018

    Client Money Protection

    If you have not already done it you might be interested in reading the draft client money protection regulations. The requirement to belong can be found here  and the rules for the schemes can be found here.

    Agents would be well advised to study this legislation as it contains some interesting provisions. For example, it comes into force on the 1 April 2019 and agents will have to pay any interest earned back to the owner of the client money, this may make insured deposit schemes much less attractive.

    Scheme members will have to have a written procedure on client money and this will have to be displayed in the office and on the web site.

    Not being a scheme member carries a maximum penalty of £30,000 and not displaying membership carries a maximum penalty of £5,000. The penalties can be used by the local authorities for general enforcement work in the private rented sector.

  • Jul 10/2018

    Another new How to Rent Guide

    The How to Rent Guide is the prescribed information stated in the Deregulation Act 2015. This act, via subordinate regulations, required that the document "entitled ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England’, as published by the Department for Communities and Local Government, that has effect for the time being" is given to the tenant before a section 21 notice can be served. This makes getting this right very important as failure to get it right could jeopardise possession claims.

    The guide was updated without fuss or comment in January 2018. Another update was provided on the 26 June and a previous news item refers to that. However, the revised version had some concerns. Most particularly the name of the document got subtly changed and this raised concerns as to if the new guide, with a different name, matched the requirements under the Deregulations Act 2015. It introduced another confusion in that the  file name of the PDF said it was the Jun18 version, the last edit date on the MHCLG web site stated 26 June 2018, though the bottom of page two of the PDF version of the guide said it was July 2018 (the HTML version now says updated 9 July).

    This has created a great deal of confusion about which version should be issued in which situation. It should also be said that there are no clear answers till a court of record makes a decision on some of the points. For example, there is a potential that the 26th June version is considered not valid because of the name not matching the regulations (but we won't know till a court decides!). This could mean that for a tenancy starting the 30th June the Jan 2018 guide would have been the one that should have been served at the time. However, in the quote in the first paragraph you will see that the version for the guide to give is "that has effect for the time being". Now what is not clear is if this is the version that had effect when it should have been served or when it was actually served. Again a point without a court judgement to make it clear. Therefore for that tenancy starting 30th June (or, of course, for the statutory periodic tenancy arising after the fixed term), it is not clear if the guide that should have been give was the one from the 26 June (as it was valid), the one from Jan 2018 (as the June one was not valid and Jan 2018 was the last correct guide at the point the obligation to give it arose), or indeed the July 2018 edition as this will be the version that will the current at the point the guide is actually given.

    All this only makes getting the tenant's consent to email the PDF even more important!!

    Obviously users of Training for Professionals' model agreement have the problem for the new tenancy but they do not run statutory periodic so the problem is reduced.

  • Jun 29/2018

    New How to Rent Guide

    On the 26th June 2018 the Government launched a new "How to Rent Guide". This is important as this must be given to all new tenants at move in. As a new guide has been issued you must also remember that if a renewal tenancy is signed, the new How to Rent Guide must be issued. This requirement also applies in the situation where a statutory periodic tenancy arises after the fixed term.

    There are some other changes, notifying the tenant of the online benefits calculator, telling tenants to ensure the property has  a licence if this is required, telling tenants of their rights around EPCs, gas safety records and deposits and explaining the requirement for a minimum EPC band E property, or a registered exemption.

    Additionally it has become one of a suite of guides with information now provided for tenants (this guide), two for landlords, one on legislation and one on safety and one for leaseholders. We have long said that landlords would have to raise their game if tenants ever got to understand their rights and these guides may have this effect, if the tenant ever reads them.

  • Jun 14/2018

    New HMO Licensing Regs

    The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018 amends the description of which propertiesfall within Mandatory Licensing. The previous rule was where five or morepeople from two or more households in a building with three or more storeys.

    The new rules basically leave the people andhouseholds unchanged but require houses in multiple occupation on any number offloors to be licensed. There is an exclusion that if the property is in apurpose built block of flats of three or more flats, then it is not covered bythe requirement to be licensed under Mandatory Licensing.

    This means that if you have five people from two ormore households in a two storey house, this will now fall into mandatorylicensing.

    Transitional provisions clarify that if the property isalready licensed under additional licensing, this licence will continue tillexpiry and the property will not need to re-license

  • May 01/2018

    Licensing of agents

    In October 2017 there was a 6 week call for evidence about regulating all agents. On the 1st April 2018 MHCLG release a press release explaining what they see as the way forward.

    This will involve an independent regulator and a standard code of practice for letting and managing agents. Letting agents will have to achieve a recognised  national qualification, presumably all staff as it goes on to say "with at least one person in every organisation required to have a higher qualification". Linked to this will be a requirement for all agents to undertake continuing professional development (a certain amount of training annually) in order to continue to practice.

    A working group will be looking at the proposals with final recommendations expected in early 2019.

    MHCLG have also published the response to the consultation on client money protection with legislation to be brought forward to require membership of schemes and define sanctions (£30,000 civil penalty)

  • Apr 03/2018

    Energy Efficiency Consultation

    The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy launched a consultation on the 19th December 2017 about modifying The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015.

    Current legislation, as confirmed in the recent 97 page guidance issued, requires that all energy improvements must be at no cost to the landlord. If improvements cannot be achieved at no cost to the landlord then the landlord can register the band F or G property on an exemptions register and for 5 years they are then OK to be letting the property. This will probably be the biggest single reason properties will be registered on the exemption register. However, it will also mean a lot of energy inefficient properties continue to be let and continue to be producing more carbon emissions than necessary. This consultation suggests that they may change the rules, possibly at some time during 2018, and require a landlord to spend an amount of money, up to a cap, in order to improve the energy efficiency. Only having spent this money would the property be allowed on the exemption register for further improvements not being available at no cost to the landlord.

    This is quite a significant change and could certainly costs landlords with a significant portfolio in bands F or G, a lot of money. Original proposals had been to cap the spend at £5,000 but this has now been reduced to £2,500, though the amount of the cap is one of the points in the consultation.

    Data from the 2014 English Housing Survey showed that here are an estimated 280,000 private rented properties in bands F or G. It should be remembers (and this is restated in the consultation) that the plan is to make all private rented properties a minimum of Band C by 2030.

    The consultation can be found

    Responses have to be in by 13 March 2018 with any changes not expected to be in force till April 2019.

  • Jan 02/2018

    HMO Licensing

    On 28 December 2017 Alok Sharma, the Housing Minister, announced that the Government would make amendments to the houses in multiple occupation that need licensing. Currently set at HMOs that have 5 or more occupiers and are on three or more qualifying storeys, the new rules will require all HMOs with five or more occupiers,regardless of the number of floors, to get a licence. It is estimated that this will bring another 160,000 properties into mandatory HMO licensing.

    Other changes include introducing minimum space requirements for each room of 6.51 m2 for a single person and 10.22 m2 for a couple.

  • Dec 20/2017

    Lots of change

    The private rented sector seems awash with new legislation and consultations. The draft tenant fees ban has been published, with the surprise that fees will not be banned for all tenancies. We have the huge issue of the General Data Protection Regulations steams down the track and we have the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards due to start from April 2018 (banning properties in  bands F and G). 

    The Government are consulting on introducing mandatory Client Money Protection Insurance and there has been a call for evidence on ideas for regulating the whole letting sector. This would effectively mean some sort of licensing of agents and all landlords being required to join a redress scheme. For agents the discussion has started as to if there should be a single redress scheme to make it less complex for consumers wanting to complain.

    Draft legislation has now been laid bring in banning order offences, where a landlord or agent is guilty of a list of offences, including unlawful eviction, failure to comply with improvement notices and a range of other breaches, then they could also be banned from working in lettings. If banned it would be a for a minimum of 12 months but could be permanent. If that was not enough they are reviewing the Right to Rent and Smoke alarms regulations for effectiveness.

    To tackles all these issues (and others) we will be running out Legal Update 2018 courses starting in January 2018. We are starting early this year as there will plenty to do for many agents before some of these items come into force later in the spring. Go to the "Training" link above to find the venues and dates. This really is an event to to be missed.
    We will explain what you have to do to comply with GDPR, we will explaining how you could delay the impact of MEES by up to two years and we will explain which tenancies you can still charge fees on, plus lots lots more.

  • Dec 04/2017

    Banning order legislation

    The draft legislation for banning orders for landlords and letting agent has been published. It can be found here.

    These draft regulations are planned to come into force from 6th April 2018.

    The Schedule contains the list of offences proposed to be banning order offences. These include unlawful eviction or harassment, violence to gain entry to a property, not complying with an HHSRS improvement notice or prohibition notice, Offences relating to the licensing and management of HMOs and other properties, breaching overcrowding notices, offences under fire safety, gas safety, right to rent offences, fraud, proceeds of crime offences, anti social behaviour, drugs offences theft offences and proceeds of crime offences.

    The list is lengthy and comprehensive and will, in each case, potentially make a conviction more serious as it could involve a ban.

  • Nov 01/2017

    Slow Progress

    Despite the Housing White Paper and even legislation, like the Housing and Planning Act, legislation change seems to be moving slowly. Yes there are plenty of hurdles to cover and indeed we would much rather have "right" legislation, carefully thought out, than "fast" legislation, so full of holes that if has to be edited. However, with the focus on Brexit and the weakness of a coalition government to boot there are real problems changing laws.

    The normal policy is to only introduce new legislation at the beginning of April and October each year unless there are extraordinary factors (like urgency or EU commencement dates). The law needed for the tenant fee ban is, apparently, being drafted if the Housing Minister is to be believed. However, they say the delay is partly caused by over 4,500 responses to the consultation which they have to work their way through. In fact if they were meaningfully working through responses one might have hoped that they would NOT be drafting legislation but waiting till they have read the consultation responses first?

    In Scotland the legislation was in force from 1984 and the 2012 legislation was simply clarifying what was already in place. For England (Wales will pass its own legislation, which is also being consulted on) it will require primary legislation (an act of Parliament). This receives full Parliamentary scrutiny meaning that it can take quite some time to get through, depending on the size of the bill, how controversial it is and the size of the government majority. Whilst the government majority is weak the bill is not likely to be controversial across the major parties and whilst it will take time to "process" it is not likely to suffer undue delay. Crucial to the speed through the system will be whether it is in a bill on its own or it is part of a larger bill that may contain more controversial elements in it. It might be in for April, but this would be quite swift, and October 2018 is probably the best guess.

    There is another reason why October 2018 would be a "good" date for it to start, and this is advanced payments. If you do student lettings then from October this year onwards you might start letting properties and charging tenants fees, perfectly legitimately. If the new legislation in introduced in April 2018, what would be the position of all the fees paid before the ban for agreements starting after the ban? Whilst this could be a massive problem for student letting providers it will affect all agents to some degree unless enough warning of the implementation is given and having clear transitional provisions will be important if we are to avoid having to refund money.

  • Nov 01/2017

    Banning Orders

    The Housing and Planning Act 2016 (Commencement No. 6) Regulations 2017 bring further provisions of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 into force from 3 November 2017. Specifically the ability to make regulations to bring banning orders into force and other issues need to make banning orders work, like the database of banning orders. Whilst this does not in itself bring banning orders into force, it shows it will come into force and this is preparatory work. Since the October date for new legislation has been missed it is a fair bet this will go live for April 2018.

  • Oct 20/2017

    Call for Evidence

    There are three calls for evidence about the PRS currently seeking views.

    The first can be found here and is about the powers of local authorities have to enforce legislation already in force. Do they have the capacity and is it effective at dealing with rogue landlord? They also seek views on if selective licensing is effective in promoting higher quality accommodation, what steps local authorities have taken to promote affordable accommodation in their areas and if complaint mechanisms are effective.

    The second consultation can be found here and is about protecting consumers in the letting and managing agent market. Essentially this is the call for evidence around agent licensing including views on minimum entry standards, training rules of conduct etc.

    Both of these could have a significant impact on our market so you are encouraged to engage with them.

    The third call for evidence is about the Right to Rent checks and it can be found here. Whilst not examining any unintended consequences, the call for evidence is looking for those with experience of right to rent checks from the planning for it through to what amounts to success and the sanctions related to it.

  • Oct 01/2017

    Licensing to come

    At the Conservative party conference in Manchester it has been announced that they plan to bring in a requirement for all private landlords to join an ombudsman scheme and for all letting agents to be licensed.

    They see the advantage of of the ombudsman as being that it will give quick and easy dispute resolutions for issues like repairs and maintenance. This will bring landlords in line with what already happens with the agent market.

    They also suggest that all agents will have to be regulated in order to practice, and that the regulation would include minimum training requirements. and an industry wide code of practice. They do not make it clear about who will do the regulation, it simply says "an appropriate organisation".

    The announcement confirms the intention to ban fees charged to tenants and also suggest that there are discussions with Treasury about incentivising landlords to offer longer tenancies (at least one year). 

    These changes will only apply to England as Wales produce their own housing legislation.

  • Sep 25/2017

    A Lettings Industry Voice makes a call for Regulation.

    The Lettings Industry Council wasformed in 2015. It was set up to help improve the PRS by finding ways to makerenting and letting better for all concerned without the need for legislationand where legislation is required, giving housing policy makers access torepresentatives across the lettings industry including tenant support groups;landlords; agents; redress and deposit schemes; professional and trade bodies;trading standards and suppliers ranging from inventory professionals through toNAPIT and UK Finance (previously CML)

    Theresa Wallace from Savills, thechair of the group said, “We have grown organically and have more than 65 membersof the group and we are delighted with the support to date.  This membership group make up various workingparties as required which address key issues that face the industry, landlordsand tenants today. For example, tenant fees, property rental standards,understanding how to make renting easier for tenants and the lettings fee ban,where TLIC are preparing a paper with the intention of sharing with DCLG on theeffects of a fee ban and the other services agents offer. We are in the processof completing this and it will be issued shortly.”

    Currently the TLIC has workinggroups on Tenant Fees, Property Standards, Licensing and Regulation.

    The Regulation group has beenmeeting with stakeholders in the industry over the summer to establish anoverall framework for how regulation could work. The group believes it has thebasis of a workable solution and calls on all agents and stakeholders to joinin the discussion.

    “Piecemeal regulation is not theanswer,” said Glynis Frew, chair of the Regulation group, “it is ensuring consistentenforcement that will make the real difference. As an industry, we have beenasking for regulation for years now, but our requests have gone unheeded but nowthere seems to be a concerted momentum for change. It is really exciting to seeso many industry and tenant groups in favour of it.”

    While most agents and landlords signup to member bodies which advocate high standards in the PRS, the group believethat the biggest cause of complaints from tenants, and indeed landlords is poorknowledge and education coupled with rare instances of rogue practices that mustbe eradicated.

    Now it has an initial propositionon agent regulation, the Regulation Group calls on all agents, both large andsmall, that would like to have a say to come forward. Please contact any of thefollowing member agents of the Regulation group if you would like to beinvolved.

    Glynis Frew; AndrewCulverwell;Nicola Thivessen

    The next TLIC meeting will beheld on October 12th in London from 2pm to 4.30pm, if you feel youwould like to learn more or join then please contact Theresa Wallace

  • Aug 25/2017

    Identifying and filling the legal gaps exposed by the Grenfell fire

    The University of Bristol has been awarded a grant by Shelter to conduct this research project.  The project team is Dave Cowan (Bristol), Helen Carr (Kent), Ed Kirton-Darling (Kent), and Ed Burtonshaw-Gunn (Bristol).

    Summary of the project

    This research project uses a survey method to address three objectives:

    • To set out clearly the gaps in current legislation which may make housing less safe and/or prevent households from remedying problems
    • To set out where lack of enforcement undermines existing legal protections
    • To identify legal remedies to strengthen protection for tenants.

    We are seeking evidence from renters and owner-occupiers, lawyers, other professionals involved in looking at the conditions of accommodation, and landlords (social and private).  Findings from this research will be used to produce a report for Shelter and other academic work.  This report and other work will not identify you, your household, or your business/place of work.

    At Training for Professionals we have long held that the biggest issue lies in a lack of enforcement and so we are delighted that this is finally being looked at. You can have your say by clicking here.

  • Aug 24/2017

    Welsh Tenant Fee Ban Consultation

    The Welsh Government have launched their own consultation on banning tenant fees in Wales. For those with an interest in the area this is a great opportunity to ensure the voice of the industry is heard. The document is not too long or complex so well worth contributing to the discussion if we want to influence the outcome. 

  • Jun 21/2017

    Grenfell Tower

    Many of our readers will probably manage some multi-occupancy properties. You might be interested in this letter from DCLG to consider what it is recommending and if it is relevant to any of the properties you manage.

  • Jun 01/2017

    Deposit case

    An interesting case around deposit compliance has just been heard.

    The case is around the need for landlords and agents to comply with the“initial requirements” of the deposit scheme they choose to use. The legislation does not talk about “protecting the deposit” but rather says that the landlord/agent has to comply with the “initial requirements” of the deposit scheme. It goes on to clarify that the “initial requirements” of a deposit scheme are the requirements the scheme imposes.

    The need to give prescribed information within 30 days is listed in the Housing Act 2004, but for the MyDeposits scheme the need to give the prescribed information within 30 days is also listed as an “initial requirement”. Under the legislation if the prescribed information is not given in 30 days a section 21 notice can be served, provided the prescribed information is given first. However, if an “initial requirement” that is not completed within 30 days only allows for the section 21 notice to be served after the deposit has been refunded to the tenant.

    In this case the prescribed information was given late, ie after 30 days but before the section 21 notice was served. The question was did the “initial requirements” of the deposit scheme, which included giving the prescribed information within 30 days, create the higher level of burden to refund the deposit before the section 21 notice could be served.

    The decision of the court was that the “initial requirement” of the scheme had not been complied with and therefore the section 21 notice was not valid. The landlord needed to refund the deposit before the section 21 notice could be served.

    This case very much hinged on the wording of the specific deposit scheme being used but it is a clear warning to agents to ensure they know the rules of which ever schemes they are using and to be sure to follow them. It could also be said to be a warning to the scheme not to make the initial requirements too onerous as this simply risks disadvantaging their members. Had this case been in respect of another scheme they would been alright as the schemes rules do not make serving the prescribed information within 30 days and initial requirement.

    We have long warned about this risk and encouraged the deposit schemes to keep the rules, but particularly their initial requirements, as simple as possible. This is only a county court case so is not binding on other court. We are not aware if this judgement will be appealed (as it may be cheaper and easier to give the deposit back and reserve the notice than to appeal).

    Amak Property Investments (London) Ltd v Laura Sonny

    B01CL657, 15 September 2016, the County Court, Central London.

  • Mar 28/2017

    Client Money Protection

    A review of the consultation on whether the Government should introduce client money protection (CMP) for letting and management agents has now been published. In the review, the working group, recommends that the Government uses its powers in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to make CMP mandatory.  They claim there is also widespread support from the private rented sector for introducing it.

    Agents will be given a period of grace in which to become compliant, and it is suggested that those who fail to obtain CMP will either be fined or shut down.  Membership of a professional body will not be required and the Government is likely to a pprove a variety of CMP schemes including using the banking sector.

    The new proposals only apply to England.

    Further details of the review can be found via

  • Mar 20/2017

    Rent Repayment

    The Housing and Planning Act includes provisions to have rent repayment orders awarded against landlords for certain offences. Therefore, from 6 April 2017 a tenant or the local authority (if they have been paying benefits) will be able to claim a rent repayment order if the landlord is guilty of certain offences (note they don't necessarily have to be convicted of the offence). Whilst these offences include unlawful eviction, using violence to gain entry and operating an HMO without a licence, it also includes failure to comply with an HHSRS improvement notice or prohibition order.

    The First tier Tribunal can award up the the previous 12 months rent to be repaid. If the landlord has been convicted of the offence then the tribunal must award the maximum repayment but can choose a lower figure if there is no conviction.

    In addition to the rent repayment orders the commencement order brings in fixed penalties as an alternative to a full prosecution. The list of offences for which a fixed penalty notice can be used are listed in schedule 9 of the Housing and Planning Act. The penalty offered must not exceed £30,000!

    Also commenced is a small change to deposit information in the Housing Act 2004. A new section 212A which requires all deposit schemes to provide information to local authorities to enable them to carry out their functions under parts 1-4 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016.

  • Mar 16/2017

    Money Laundering

    The EU 4th directive on money laundering is due to be brought into force by 24th June 2017. It was widely expected that the UK implementation of the directive would bring letting agents within the requirement to register and have money laundering reporting officers etc.

    The treasury have now announced that they do not intend to bring letting agents within these requirements. This is not to say letting agents don't have obligations to report suspicious activity etc but the strict requirement about registration and money laundering reporting officers and staff training are avoided.

    The other side of the coin is that the proposed changes to comply with the 4th directive make the requirements slightly more onerous on the estate agency side of any business.

  • Mar 01/2017

    Electrical Safety

    In a very quiet change to the rules, in December 2016 new Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations were passed changing the responsibilities for manufacturers, importers and "distributors". This latter phrase will include landlords and letting agents as they will be supplying appliances in the course of a business activity.

    Whilst quite a lot of the rules mirror the 1994 rules (which are largely revoked by these regulations) there are some additional responsibilities that the letting market is going to have to work out how it will integrate into its working practices.

    Firstly it should be said none of the new rules are believed to affect appliances first supplied before the 2016 regulations came into force, the 8 December 2016. Therefore, if you let a property with a washing machine last year you remain under the 1994 regs in respect of that washing machine, even if there is a renewal or even a new tenancy. However, if a new washing machine is purchased and supplied after 8 December 2016 then the new rules must be followed in respect of that new appliance. From this it can be seen that this will not affect one house and not another, rather it will affect one appliance and not another, making management more tricky.

    The new rules principally cause our market problems around supplying documentation that is now required by law and has to be provided by the manufacturer. For example, in 2020, if you want to rent out a property that used to be the landlord's home with a washing machine purchased in 2017, you will have to have the manufacturer's documentation to supply to the tenant. Obviously, (and presuming it is even available from the landlord), you will want to guard this original information very carefully and it should probably never leave the office with only copies being provided to tenants. Yet again there will be significant value to be added through managing this process through the inventory.

    Breaches of the legislation carries an unlimited fine and or three month in prison.

  • Dec 01/2016

    Leeds v Broadley

    In a landmark Council Tax case, the Court of Appeal has upheld the use of a tenancy agreement in the same style as the TFP agreement. We changed our agreements in 2010 for a number of reasons, Council Tax being one of them. The point is that if the tenant is granted a periodic agreement (including a statutory periodic tenancy arising) and then leaves the property, the landlord immediately becomes liable for the Council Tax. In this case, the landlord issued a tenancy that included a fixed element and a periodic element (the wording was different but the structure is the same as TFP). Leeds City Council argued that a tenancy had to be either fixed term or periodic, it could not be both. To be valid an agreement must be "certain". For a fixed term agreement it ends at the end of the fixed term and this creates certainty. For a periodic agreement, certainty is created because notice can be given in accordance with the Protection from Eviction Act and common law provisions (generally one month, ending at the end of a period). Leeds argued that by trying to put them together it created uncertainty.

    The court decides that this was a perfectly valid form of agreement, as if there is certainty in the fixed term and there is certainty during the periodic element, there is no reason to feel it creates uncertainty by joining them together. It would amount to saying that one act on its own is lawful, a second act is also lawful, but when together it is not lawful.

    This is a great victory for landlords and confirms the sound logic of the TFP tenancy agreement. Landlords should give thanks to the RLA for taking part in this process and arguing for the landlord's position for the better good of the market.

  • Nov 30/2016

    Update to TFP's Tenancy Agreement pack

    We are pleased to announce that our Tenancy Agreement Pack has been updated to include; revisions to the tenancy agreements to take into account the changes under the Immigration Act 2016, an amended Section 8 notice, updated Council Tax liability letter that takes into account the recent Court of Appeal Decision.  After feedback from clients, we have also taken the opportunity to make the pack more user friendly with less versions of a document and more detailed file names so each document can be easily identified at a glance. Subscribers can download the new version by logging in to their accounts. If you would like to know more about the pack please contact the office on 01258 85 85 85 or email us.

  • Nov 23/2016

    Letting Agent Upfront Fees to be banned

    All media sources are stating that the Chancellor is intending to ban upfront letting agent fees in the Autumn Statement today.  However, as always the devil will be in the detail, and until this is known it's more than likely there will be a 'wait and see' strategy by letting agents.  The decision has come as a surprise, considering the Housing Minister only tweeted three months ago, that banning letting agents fees was a bad idea and his department were looking at other ways of 'managing' the industry.  More updates to follow shortly...

  • Nov 02/2016

    TPO issues new guidance

    Further to the revised code of practice that came into effect from 1st October 2016, The Property Ombudsman (TPO) have issued new guidance to clarify their position in obtaining express consent from a tenant before accessing a property.
    The full guidance can be viewed on their website here.

  • Oct 27/2016

    Changes to the TPO's code of practice

    With effect from the 1st October 2016, The Property Ombudsman (TPO) have produced a revised code of practice for letting agents. If you are a member of TPO, then understanding the changes will be an important part of staying compliant and protecting you and your business from claims of compensation. There are numerous minor changes but TFP would like to flag up two of the more important changes:

    (2d) TPO have clarified that agents have an obligation to inform the landlord of any commission or fees earned from the tenant using a third party associate i.e. insurance.  Failure to provide such information could result in such income being claimed by the landlord as their own.
    (8F)TPO require agents to obtain "expressed consent" for access to the property notwithstanding any notice served as contractually required.  Therefore agents will need evidence of such tenant permission before entering the property rather than relying on the common tenancy clause of entering with required notice.

    Click here to download from TPO a document which highlights the changes from the previous revision. Please ensure that you have noted the additional requirements, informed your staff and importantly have evidence to prove compliance should it ever be required.

    As you maybe aware, Training for Professionals do offer a bespoke compliance audit service for lettings agents, which will test your processes and procedures for such requirements.  If you are interested in such a service, please contact Alice or Darrel on 01258 85 85 85 or visit our Compliance Audit webpage.

  • Sep 12/2016

    Letting Agent Fees

    This topic has been in the media spotlight over the last 12 months and will only intensify as politicians return after the summer break.  A private members bill is currently working its way through Parliament with one of the aims being to 'outlaw' letting agent fees from being charged to tenants. Although such a bill is unlikely to succeed, given the current political composition in Parliament, letting agents need to be aware that at some stage it may happen if a deal needs to be struck on other legislation which the Government is struggling to push through because of backbench rebels.   From limited research amongst some of our clients, tenant fees accounted for around 25% of the annual income, which if restricted could be the difference between surviving and closing shop.

  • Aug 02/2016

    New Council Tax Liability Judgement

    The judgement on the Leeds City Council V Broadley EWHC 2016 case was released last week. This High Court decision relates to the “person” deemed liable for council tax, when the property is physically unoccupied but a periodic tenancy still remains in force.  The court decision clarifies the position about which party, either landlord or tenant, holds the 'material interest' and is therefore liable for council tax. 
    The Judge agreed with the reasoning behind the landlords defence and held that the 'wording' of the agreement still allowed for the council to pursue the tenants for council tax even though they were no longer resident.  The importance of the fixed term then continuing as a monthly periodic was the key to the landlord succeeding.  Unlike a statutory periodic tenancy, a 'continuation' periodic tenancy after the initial fixed removes the risk of a landlord being liable for council tax when a tenant leaves physically earlier than the legal ending of the tenancy itself. For those who subscribe to the TFP tenancy agreement pack, you will be pleased to know that our agreements have been constructed in such a way since 2013, therefore protecting your landlords from liability in situations as described. 

  • Jul 13/2016

    Edwards V Kumarasamy – Supreme Court Decision

    Earlier this morning, the Supreme Court overturned a Court of Appeal decision that decided a landlord was liable to compensate his tenant for injuries caused by tripping over a communal paving stone in disrepair taking into account Section 11 (1a) of the Landlord and  Tenant Act 1985.   The Supreme Court overturned the decision on the point that the communal paving stone did not form part of the “exterior of the property”. they also decided that even if the path had been part of the exterior for section 11 to be invoked, the landlord was required to receive notice of such disrepair.  We are currently digesting the full transcript of the decision and will release a more detailed response in the coming days.

  • Jun 15/2016

    Breaking news...Supreme Court Decision

    The Supreme Court has dismissed a claim that the service of a section 21 notice violated article 8 of the ECHR. (As discussed below.)
    The private rented market can breathe a huge sigh of relief...More to follow when more detail is known.

  • Jun 09/2016

    Section 21 - Supreme Court decision due

    The Supreme Court decision on the McDonald v McDonald & Anor case will be made available next Wednesday that could have major consequences upon the ability of landlords/letting agents to use a Section 21 notice to seek possession. This case revolves around the defence by a disabled tenant, that the service of a section 21 notice by the mortgage company (as the landlords had fallen into arrears) was not proportionate action taking into account Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.  The Court of Appeal has already dismissed the tenants argument but it has now found its way to the highest court in the UK. We'll bring you more details next week.

  • May 23/2016

    Supreme Court decision on disrepair due out soon

    On the 5th May 2016, the Edwards V Kumarasamy case was heard in front of five Supreme Court judges.  This was an appeal to a Court of Appeal decision where it was held that the leasehold landlord was liable to pay compensation to their assured shorthold tenant who had tripped on a communal paving stone in disrepair which led to the bin store areas on a block of flats.  The Court of Appeal judge held that under Section 11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, no notice was required and the leasehold landlord became liable for disrepair as soon as it arose (on the presumption that they had the right to inspect the common areas without any notice being given to their tenant).
    The tenant was awarded the sum of £3750 for injuries suffered from the trip on the communal paving stone.  The leasehold landlord obviously felt aggrieved so has defended on the following points being; (1) did an easement in the property give the leasehold landlord sufficient interest to be liable under Section 11, (2) did the communal paving stones form part of the exterior of the property to such an extent it fell under Section 11 and finally (3) did the landlord require notice of the disrepair before becoming liable to the tenant under Section 11.  An interesting case, which can be viewed as a recording on the Supreme Court website and we understand that the decision will be released very shortly.

  • Apr 06/2016

    New Prescribed Forms

    From the 6th April 2016 the prescribed forms for section 8 and 13 notices changed for England only. The section 8 changes clarify an ambiguity that has existed since the Deregulation Act changes last Autumn and also some other changes like including the new ground 7A. The old forms, if issued after 6th April 2016 will not be valid so use the new forms.

    The section 13 notice included errors when it was last revised (it cross referenced the wrong notes), this version has corrected those errors and changes some of the other wording (for example "agricultural occupants" has been replaced with "tenants"). Again, use the new version of the form for all rent increases using section 13 from now on.

    Those who subscribe to our model tenancy agreement pack can download the revised notices from your online account.

  • Apr 04/2016

    Rent Smart Wales: Are you a landlord or agent?

    For Wales, we have drafted a guide trying to explain the often complex question about what sort of Rent Smart Wales licence might be required in different situations. There are many people who would normally perceive themselves as landlords, but might need an agent licence (for example helping to manage a property owned by your wife).There are several other issues around licensing and registration included in the brief guide.

    If you would like copies of this information to send to your landlords then do contact Alice by phone or email and she would be happy to let you have it for you to send to your landlords.

  • Apr 06/2016

    New Prescribed Forms

    From the 6th April 2016 the prescribed forms for section 8 and 13 notices changed for England only. The section 8 changes clarify an ambiguity that has existed since the Deregulation Act changes last Autumn and also some other changes like including the new ground 7A. The old forms, if issued after 6th April 2016 will not be valid souse the new forms.

    The section 13 notice included errors when it was last revised (it cross referenced the wrong notes), this version has corrected those errors and changes some of the other wording (for example "agricultural occupants" has been replaced with "tenants"). Again use the new version of the form for all rent increases using section 13 from now on.

    Those who subscribe to our model agreement package can download the revised notices from your online account.

    For Wales, we have drafted a guide trying to explain the often complex question about what sort of licence might be required in different situations. There are many people who would normally perceive themselves as landlords, but might need an agent licence (for example helping to manage a property owned by your wife).There are several other issues around licensing and registration included in the brief guide.

    If you would like copies of this information to send to your landlords then do contact Alice by phone or email and she would be happy to let you have it for you to send to your landlords.

  • Mar 24/2016

    Surcharge on Stamp Duty Land Tax

    From 1 April 2016, property investors will have to pay higher rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on the purchase of 'additional' residential property in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. The overall rates of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (applying to purchases of residential property) in Scotland are different, but the same principle of imposing a surcharge on 'additional' residential properties has been adopted. Throughout the UK, these proposals mean that purchasers face an additional charge of 3% on the purchase of most buy-to-let property or second homes.

    It was widely believed that commercial investors, with more than 15 properties, might be exempted from the new surcharge, but George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has confirmed that 'significant investors' also have to pay the added tax. The surcharge is expected to raise about a billion pounds by 2021 and some of the money will be reinvested in providing homes in areas like Cornwall and London who are said to be "priced out of home ownership". 

  • Mar 24/2016

    Surcharge on Stamp Duty Land Tax

    From 1 April 2016, property investors will have to pay higher rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on the purchase of ‘additional’ residential property in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. The overall rates of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (applying to purchases of residential property) in Scotland are different, but the same principle of imposing a surcharge on ‘additional’residential properties has been adopted. Throughout the UK, these proposals mean that purchasers face an additional charge of 3% on the purchase of most buy-to-let property or second homes.

    It was widely believed that commercial investors, with more than 15 properties,might be exempted from the new surcharge, but George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has confirmed that ‘significant investors’ also have to pay the added tax. The surcharge is expected to raise about a billion pounds by 2021 and some of the money will be reinvested in providing homes in areas like Cornwall and London who are said to be “priced out of home ownership”. 

  • Mar 14/2016

    The ‘Right to Rent’ experience

    The obligation to check the ‘right to rent’ status of new occupiers came into operation on the 1st February 2016.  From discussions with our clients on the helpline and at courses, it has become clear that most customers have found it relatively easy to include the obligations within their current referencing process as historically passports were already being taken.  Obviously, the onus to check any limited time to rent will not be required until at the earliest the beginning of 2017, so we will report back with any feedback on that process.
    One agent was kind enough to send us a letter from the Landlords Checking Service confirming that an applicant had NO ‘right to rent’.  The letter confirmed the date of the notice, the landlord checking reference number, guidance on other pieces of ID which could be used to prove a ‘right to rent’, along with the consequences to the landlord of allowing someone without the ‘right to rent’ into a rented property.

  • Feb 12/2016

    Foxtons Hidden Fees Accusation – An Update

    Many of you will be familiar with the recent newspaper article on the claim from a landlord that Foxtons were making hidden "income" from invoices conducted on his behalf. The landlord also claimed he was unaware of the levels of fees being charged to his tenant (£420) for services provided for by Foxtons.

    Fast forward a few months, and we understand that the solicitors who are currently acting on the landlords behalf (and at least another 150 landlords) have not started claim action but are awaiting an out of court settlement from Foxtons. Will this ever make it to court? Whatever happens, those of you who attended our Law of Agency course in 2014 will be fully aware that case law supports the position of a "client" where an agent has been involved, who has secretly made a profit from other parties without their "fully informed" consent.

  • Feb 01/2016

    Right to Rent live

    ‘Right to Rent’ goes live 1st February 2016 in England. If you’re still unsure of the rules Training for Professionals re-recorded our webinar to clarify the requirements on 29th January 2016. To purchase a copy of the recorded event click here. Please note that the 'How to Rent' guide has been updated to reflect the new requirements. You can download a copy of the new version from the government website.

  • Dec 17/2015

    We are Rent Smart Wales approved!

    Training for Professionals are now approved by Rent Smart Wales as an authorised provider of the necessary training for both landlords and agents applying for a licence with the new scheme (visit We are offering a range of innovative and cost effective training for letting agents and their landlords and will be setting some dates for courses in Wales shortly. For further information call us on 01258 858585. In the meantime, don't forget that we recently created a free webinar about the Rent Smart Wales licensing scheme, available to download by visiting the Shop page & clicking on Webinars.

  • Nov 23/2015

    Its Rent Smart Wales day

    On 23 November the new Welsh landlord and agent licensing scheme was launched. The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 introduces a requirement for all landlords who own a property in Wales to register on the Rent Smart Wales web site (or a paper application is available at a higher cost). The online cost is £33.50 and if done in paper form it is £80.50 as the cost of handling paper applications will be higher.

    Landlords will be charged £144 for online landlord licence applications and £186 for paper applications.  Agents will be charged £3,728 for their licence application. The online application is not yet available and the site says the paper application will cost £4,368 once the online application is available. For an agent who does not employ any staff, the licence will cost £144 online and £186 in paper form. This is designed for situations where one person owns a property and their partner is involved in the management.

    In addition to the licence and registrations fees, licensing requires training (which TFP have applied to be approved to provide) and this will cost £100 for landlords and £140 for agents (all customer facing staff in Wales have to attend training). The agent training is 2 hours longer than the landlord training. TFP await confirmation of approval and will be able to offer letting agents a range of innovative and cost effective training for letting agents and their landlords.

  • Nov 09/2015

    More HMO Licensing

    A consultation document has been launched seeking views on extending mandatory licensing to HMOs with five or more occupiers, regardless of the number of floors. As the consultation asks if it should be for two floors, or regardless of the number of floors, it sounds like the decision to change has been made and the only question is what the change will be. The consultation also asks if the section 257 HMOs (blocks of flats converted not complaint with 1991 building regs and less than 2/3 owner occupied) should be brought within the mandatory licensing regime. 

    There are several other changes in the consultation including changes to selective licensing (licensing for non HMOs) and trying to streamline the licence application process.

    The consultation also considers a minimum bedroom size of 6.5 square meters, making some small room unsuitable for letting and potentially reducing landlord's income.

    If agreed the changes would be brought in during 2016. The consultation run till 18th December 2015.

  • Oct 22/2015

    Right to Rent

    The government have announced the start date for the ‘Right to Rent’ rules. From 1 February 2016, all private landlords in England will have to check new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property. Under the new rules, landlords who fail to check a potential tenant’s ‘Right to Rent’ will face penalties of up to £3,000 per tenant.

    These rules are part of the Immigration Act 2014, which TFP clients will remember that we covered in our Legal Update courses last year. Under the new ‘Right to Rent’ law letting agents and private landlords, including those who sub-let or take in lodgers, must check the right of prospective tenants to be in the country.

    The rules were introduced in a pilot area of the West Midlands and the conclusions of this introductory phase have now been published. Please note, the government has advised that landlords in the phase one area (Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton) should continue to make the checks as they have been doing from 1 December 2014.

    The government has produced a code of practice for Landlords on

    TFP recently ran a webinar on Right to Rent rules, to purchase a copy to download and watch visit Shop and click on Webinars.

  • Sep 30/2015

    New Section 21 forms

    On the 29th September the government laid new prescribed forms before parliament that "come into force" on the 30 September. They are not used on the 30th September as they are only needed for new tenancies created after 1 October. These new forms correct an obvious error in para 3 of the form as well as change most of the notes and information on the form. Being a prescribed form it is important to use the new version. The easy way to see if a version of the forms is the new or old version is to look and if the tenant notes are at the top of the form, that is the layout of the new version, the old version having the tenant notes at the bottom.

    This section 21 notice is only used for properties in England. Users of Training for Professionals tenancy agreement can download the new versions of the notice from their account on our website. 

  • Sep 02/2015

    Taxing landlords

    The Chancellor announced in his budget that mortgage interest tax relief would be limited to basic rate taxation. Is this fair or right?

    It sounds fair, with higher rate tax payers paying more tax. However, calculations have now shown that basic rate tax payers could be affected too.

    The argument has been to "create a level playing field" between homeowners and landlords. Homeowners don't get tax relief so why should landlords? However, even this argument fails as homeowners don't pay capital gains tax but landlords do. Therefore to have a level playing field perhaps landlords should be exempt capital gains tax?

    What always seems to get lost in the corridors of power is that landlord don't have to be landlords and will only remain in the market as long as it is attractive. People blame landlords for pushing up the price of property, but is this really true? After all, about 20% of all properties are now in the private rented sector. If all those landlords decide to evict their tenants and sell, what would be the effect. Lots of people turning up homeless at the councils, no available private rented property and, with one in five properties on the market, a slide in the value of properties. Yes, landlords leaving the market en mass would devalue the homes of the very home owners who were supposed to be helped. This would doubtless cause a crisis in lending, negative equity  and repossessions. Maybe that is not somewhere we want to go.

    Of course the real solution lies in curbing demand and increasing supply, but that is still on the "too difficult" pile.

  • Aug 09/2015

    Tackling rogue landlords and improving the private rental sector

    This is an interesting consultation that says it seeks to find ways of more effectively targeting criminal landlords whilst not necessarily affecting good landlords. We would all support that if it can be made to work. They discuss the dismally low level of fines from the courts and ask what can be done, including suggesting that Rent Repayment Orders (currently only available for not having a licence for a licensable HMO) might be extended to other situations including illegal evictions and extreme property disrepair cases.

    This is a great consultation for landlords and agent to reply to supporting the principle of tougher enforcement on the criminal offenders whilst not catching the good landlords and to throw in some good old practical experience. The consultation can be found here:
    and it closes on the 20 August (for email submissions) and 27 for the online submissions. We started by trying to use the online version but there were too many questions that were just Yes/No type options without allowing any further comment so we ended up sending an email.

  • Jul 31/2015

    Money laundering - warnings issued

    In the wake of the recent warning by the National Crime Agency that estate agents must not hesitate to report to the authorities is they have any suspicion that a customer is seeking to launder money via the purchase of a property, TFP will be running a webinar on Money Laundering - the Legal Framework on 21st August 2015. For more details see our training page.

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