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Evolution of the private rented sector

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Laura Bushaway, Knowledge Development Lawyer

2022

April

  1. Door Keys - Icon Orange

    Temporary adjustments on right to rent checks during Coronavirus pandemic due to end

    The temporary adjustments made to the right to rent scheme to enable landlords to carry out checks over video calls and accept scanned documents or photos of documents will cease on 5 April 2022.  From 6 April 2022, landlords will need to check the applicant’s original documents or their right to rent via the Home Office’s online scheme.

February

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    Government publishes Levelling Up White Paper

    The Levelling Up White Paper repeats the Government’s intention to abolish Section 21 Notices and suggests that a White Paper on the private rented sector is expected in Spring 2022.

    Essential Reading: Our Insight

2021

December

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    Temporary Practice Direction concerning Possession Claims extended in certain circumstances

    Under the Civil Procedure Rules, temporary Practice Direction 55C was due to expire on 30 November 2021. However, it will continue to apply to all possession claims issued on or before 1 December 2021 in full. For claims issued after 1 December 2021 until 30 June 2022, paragraphs 6.1 and 6.2 will continue to apply.

November

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    HMCTS announces Possession Reform project

    The project will commence in early 2022 with the aim of automating and streamlining the Court possession process

October

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    Notice periods for certain residential tenancies revert to pre-pandemic notice periods

    Certain provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 are suspended until 25 March 2022 with the effect that notice periods for certain residential tenancies in England revert to the pre-pandemic notice periods and there are new prescribed forms for Section 21 Notices and Section 8 Notices.

    Essential Reading: Our Insight

August

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    House of Commons Briefing Paper published on regulation of estate agents

    The Briefing Paper outlines the steps taken by The Regulation of Property Agents Working Group and Government consultations on the regulation of estate agents.  A code of practice is being developed for property agents in all aspects of residential property.

July

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    Changes to right to rent scheme for EEA and Swiss Citizens

    EEA Citizens and their family members require an immigration status in the UK from 1 July 2021.  There are changes to the documents landlords can accept when undertaking right to rent checks from 1 July 2021 as set out in the Government guide: Landlord’s guide to right to rent checks.

    Essential Reading: Our Insight

June

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    Further changes to residential tenancy notice periods during COVID-19

    The Coronavirus Act 2020 is amended by further regulations and the notice periods for certain residential tenancies in England are reduced to 4 months.  Section 21 Notices require 4 months’ notice to be given.  Section 8 Notices require 4 months’ notice for many grounds with 4 weeks’ notice if the landlord seeks to rely on arrears and the amount outstanding is over 4 months’ rent for the termination of assured or assured shorthold tenancy until 30 September (subject to extension).

     

    Essential Reading: Our Insight

May

  1. Estate of Flats - Photo

    The Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space Moratorium and Mental Health Crisis Moratorium) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 come into force

    These Regulations enable individuals to apply for a standard breathing space moratorium or a mental health crisis moratorium. If a moratorium is put in place, this is likely to impact upon action which may be taken by landlords to recover arrears from that individual tenant.

    Essential Reading: Our Insight

April

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    Electrical Safety Standards will apply to existing tenancies from 1 April 2021

    The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 apply to all existing specified tenancies from 1 April 2021.

    The legislation aims to ensure that electrical safety standards are met where residential premises are occupied under a specified tenancy.  The legislation will apply to most residential tenancies except long leases, social housing, student halls of residence, hostels, care homes and hospitals.

    Essential Reading: Our Insight

March

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    Further extension of restrictions for residential tenancies during COVID-19

    The extended notice periods for certain residential tenancies in England to 6 months were originally due to remain in force until 31 March 2021.  However, that date has now been further extended to 31 May 2021 through the Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2021.

    Essential Reading: Our Insight
  2. Door Keys - Photo

    Further extension of ban on residential evictions

    There has been a further extension of the ban on enforcement of possession orders at residential dwellings in England from 31 March 2021 to 31 May 2021 through the Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction) (England) (No. 2) (Amendment) Regulations 2021.

    Essential Reading: Our Insight

February

  1. Estate of Flats 2 - Icon Orange

    Further extension of ban on residential evictions

    There has been a further extension of the ban on enforcement of possession orders at residential dwellings in England from 21 February 2021 to 31 March 2021 through The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction) (England) (No. 2) Regulations 2021.

    Essential Reading: Our Insight

January

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    Ban on residential evictions extended

    The Government has extended the ban on enforcement of possession orders at residential dwellings in England from 11 January 2021 to 21 February 2021 through The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction) (England) Regulations 2021 which come into force today.

    Essential Reading: Our Insight

2020

November

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    Ban on evictions until 11 January 2021

    The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on 17 November 2020.  These prevent, except in certain circumstances, the enforcement of a possession order at a residential dwelling in England.  The Regulations expire on 11 January 2021.

    Essential Reading: Our Insight
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    New legislation governing right to rent checks

    The Immigration (Residential Accommodation) (Prescribed Requirements and Codes of Practices) (Amendment) Order 2020 comes into force.  The overall obligations under the right to rent scheme remain unchanged but landlords and agents will need to familiarise themselves with adjustments to the prescribed requirements which include an ability to use the Home Office online checking service.  A revised code of practice has also been published which can be found here .

September

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    Consultation on Minimum Energy Performance of private rented property commences

    The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy publishes a consultation: Improving the Energy Performance of Privately Rented Homes in England and Wales which explores the possibility of raising the minimum energy performance rating from E to C.  The proposals are made for new tenancies of private rented property from 2025 and for existing tenancies from 2028.

    Essential Residential: Our Insight
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    Lifting stay on possession proceedings

    The stay on possession proceedings which came into force during the Coronavirus pandemic is due to be lifted on 20 September 2020.

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    Draft Code of Practice for Regulation of Property Agents

    Closure of consultation on the draft code of practice.

August

  1. Door Keys - Photo

    Further restrictions for residential tenancies during COVID-19

    The Coronavirus Act 2020 is amended and the notice periods for certain residential tenancies in England are extended to 6 months.  Section 21 Notices require 6 months’ notice to be given.  Section 8 Notices require 6 months’ notice for the majority of grounds with 4 week’s notice if the landlord seeks to rely on arrears and the amount outstanding is over 6 months’ rent for the termination of assured or assured shorthold tenancies until 31 March 2021 (with power for this date to be further extended).

    Essential Reading: Our Insight
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    Stay on possession proceedings extended

    Practice Direction 55C under the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 comes into effect. Originally the stay of possession proceedings was due to be lifted on 23 August 2020 but this was extended until 20 September 2020.

    Essential Reading: Our Insight

July

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    Draft Code of Practice for Regulation of Property Agents is published

    A draft overarching Code of Practice for the regulation of property agents is published upon which The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and The Property Ombudsmen are consulting.  The Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) Steering Group will review responses after closure of the consultation on 4 September 2020.

    Essential Reading: Our Insight
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    New electrical safety standards in the private rented sector

    The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 will apply to new specified tenancies from 1 July 2020 and all existing specified tenancies from 1 April 2021.

    The legislation aims to ensure that electrical safety standards are met where residential premises are occupied under a specified tenancy. The legislation will apply to most residential tenancies except long leases, social housing, student halls of residence, hostels, care homes and hospitals.

    Essential Reading: Our Insight

June

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    Court of Appeal decision on gas safety certificates and possession

    The Court of Appeal handed down its long awaited decision in the case of Trecarrell House Limited v. Rouncefield [2020] EWCA Civ 760.  By a majority of 2 to 1, the Court of Appeal allowed the landlord’s appeal and determined that a landlord may serve a valid Section 21 Notice even if it has served a gas safety certificate on the tenant late (i.e. after the tenant moves into a property rather than before), provided that the gas safety certificate is given before the Section 21 Notice.

    Essential Reading: Our Insight
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    Government announces extension to stay of possession proceedings during Coronavirus outbreak

    The MHCLG announces that the existing stay of possession proceedings until 25 June 2020 will be extended by 2 months until 23 August 2020.

    Essential Reading: Our Insight
  3. Estate of Flats - Photo

    Tenant Fees Act 2019

    The Tenant Fees Act 2019 will apply to all existing assured shorthold tenancies from 1 June 2020.

    Essential Reading: Our Insight

April

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    Court of Appeal decision on right to rent

    The Court of Appeal handed down judgment in the decision of The Secretary of State for the Home Department v. The Queen on the Application of the Joint Council for The Welfare of Immigrants [2020] EWCA Civ in which the Court of Appeal confirmed the right to rent scheme is proportionate and justified and landlords must continue to comply with the requirements of the scheme when letting residential properties within the private sector.

    Essential Reading: Our Insight
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    Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

    Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards apply to existing private sector residential lettings from 1 April 2020 so that any qualifying domestic tenancies must have an EPC rating of F or G.

    Essential Reading: Our Insight

March

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    COVID-19 - Temporary adjustments to right to rent checks

    The Home Office issues guidance announcing that right to rent checks are temporarily adjusted due to the Coronavirus outbreak with permission being granted for checks to be carried out over video calls and the acceptance of scanned or photographs of documents rather than originals from tenants.

  2. Door Keys - Icon Orange

    Stay of possession proceedings during Coronavirus outbreak

    Following the Coronavirus outbreak, a new Practice Direction is introduced into the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 which stays all new and existing possession proceedings against residential tenants for three months from 27 March 2020.

    Essential Residential: Our Insight
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    The Coronavirus Act

    The Coronavirus Act comes into force on 25 March 2020 which requires all Section 21 Notices and Section 8 Notices (whichever ground of possession is relied upon) to give at least three months' notice of termination of an assured or assured shorthold tenancy until 30 September 2020 (there is a power to extend this date in the Act).

  4. Garden - Photo

    The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018

    From 20 March 2020, The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 applies to all existing periodic assured, secure and introductory tenancies including those which commenced before the Act came into force on 20 March 2019.

    It introduces an implied covenant into short leases of less than seven years, to which the Act applies, that the property is fit for human habitation at the date the lease is granted and throughout the term of the lease.

January

  1. Estate of Flats - Icon Orange

    Funding to tackle rogue landlords

    The MHCLG announces that 100 councils in England have been awarded a share of £4 million to tackle rogue landlords and agents.  The funding is to be used for purposes such as training over 100 enforcement offices and to trial new technology.

2019

December

  1. Door Knocker - Photo

    Renters’ Reform Bill

    In the background briefing to the Queen's Speech, the Renters' Reform Bill is announced to include the abolition of Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 and reforms to the grounds of possession available under Section 8. The Bill is not published in draft form.

November

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    First Banning Order against a rogue landlord in London

    The London Borough of Camden obtained the first banning order against a rogue landlord in London. Judgment was issued by the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) in the case of London Borough of Camden v. Mr Cesar De Sousa Melo. The First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) granted a banning order for four years from 8 March 2020 preventing Mr Cesar De Sousa from letting housing in England and/or engaging in the letting or management of property in England as a result of offences he had been convicted of in respect of several properties.

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    Private Rented Sector Innovation and Enforcement Grant Fund 2019/20: prospectus

    MHCLG publishes Private Rented Sector Innovation and Enforcement Grant: prospectus to enable local authorities to apply for funding to support short-term initiatives which help them take enforcement action against rogue landords. The deadline for applications closed on 1 December 2019.

October

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    New rogue landlords and letting agents toolkit

    MHCLG publishes a toolkit including an interactive learning module and a knowledge bank of technical questions and answers to support local authorities in taking enforcement action against rogue landlords and letting agents.

September

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    Guidance on right to rent checks after Brexit

    The Home Office publishes an update to its guidance on right to rent checks for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens after Brexit and confirms that there will be no changes to the right to rent for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their families living in the UK until 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

August

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    Update to right to rent guide

    MHCLG updates A short guide on right to rent to include right to rent checks for nationals from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the United States who are visiting the UK for up to six months.

July

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    Consultation on rogue landlord database reform

    The MHCLG publishes a consultation Rogue Landlord Database Reform: Widening Access and Considering the Scope of the Database of Rogue Landlords and Property Agents.

    The Rogue Landlord and Property Agents Database was introduced in April 2018 to help local authorities take enforcement action against rogue landlords and property agents.

    The consultation seeks views on whether the scope of persons who may access the database should be widened to include tenants and potential tenants and whether a landlord or agent should be required to disclose to a tenant if they appear on the database. In addition, the consultation considers widening the scope of the offences which may trigger inclusion on the database.

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    Recommendations on the regulation of property agents

    The working group on Regulation of Property Agents publishes its report.
    The main recommendations are:

    • to regulate property agents by creating an independent regulator and introducing mandatory qualifications and a code of practice;
    • regulation to cover estate agents in the UK and letting and managing agents in England together with auctioneers, property guardian providers and online agents but not online portals;
    • introduce a mandatory licensing scheme overseen by the regulator; and
    • establish a new public body to undertake the role of regulator.
    Essential Reading: Our Insight

June

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    Tenancy Deposit Reform: A Call For Evidence

    The MHCLG publishes a call for evidence on any barriers that tenants' face when providing a second deposit and seeking views on alternative approaches to help tenants move.

  2. Chimney - Photo

    A review of selective licensing

    The MHCLG publishes an independent review of the use and effectiveness of selective licensing. Selective licensing enables local authorities to extend the benefits of licensing beyond large Houses in Multiple Occupation and focus on improving the management of privately rented properties in certain areas designated for selective licensing.
    The Government's report concludes that selective licensing should be retained.

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    New prescribed form Section 21 Notice

    A new prescribed form Section 21 Notice is introduced under The Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2019.

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    The Tenant Fees Act 2019

    The Tenant Fees Act 2019 comes into force which restricts the fees that may be charged by a landlord or letting agent to a tenant of an assured shorthold tenancy ("AST") in relation to tenancies granted after 1 June 2019.

    It will apply to all existing ASTs from 1 June 2020.

    Essential Reading: Our Insight

April

  1. Inside of House - Photo

    Section 21 Notices to be abolished?

    The Government announces plans to abolish Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 so that landlords are no longer able to serve a Section 21 Notice to terminate an assured shorthold tenancy ("AST") in England. Under the current rules, a landlord can serve a Section 21 Notice giving at least two months' notice to terminate an AST without needing to give a reason for terminating the tenancy.

    It also confirms it has scrapped its idea of introducing a three-year tenancy model with a one off break clause which may be exercised by the landlord at six months and supports flexible and open ended tenancies.

    Essential Reading: Our Insights

March

  1. Door Keys - Photo

    The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018

    The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 comes in force.

    This applies to properties in England and introduces an implied covenant into certain short leases (including assured and assured shorthold tenancies) granted after 20 March 2019 of less than seven years that the property is fit for human habitation at the date the lease is granted and throughout the term of the lease.

January

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    Government’s response on electrical safety consultation

    MHCLG publishes the Government's response to Electrical safety in the private rented sector.

    The Government proposes to introduce new rules for electrical inspections in private rented accommodation to be carried out by competent and qualified inspectors every five years. Financial penalties are proposed for those who fail to comply with the legislation.

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    Government response on housing market redress

    The Government publishes its response to Strengthening consumer redress in the housing market. The Government’s proposals include:

    • establishing a Housing Complaints Resolution Service as a single point of access for tenants, leaseholders of residential premises, purchasers of new build homes and users of residential property agents;
    • establishing a Redress Reform Working Group to develop proposals;
    • creating a New Homes Ombudsman for buyers of new build homes; and - requiring all private landlords to become members of a redress scheme.

2018

November

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    Considering the case for a Housing Court: call for evidence

    MHCLG publishes Considering the case for a Housing Court: call for evidence to consider the experiences of private landlords in possession actions in the County Court, the experience of Court and Tribunal users and views on the transfer of property cases from the Courts to the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) and vice-versa.

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    New grants available to tackle rogue landlords

    The MHCLG publishes Rogue Landlords Enforcement Grant: prospectus to enable organisations to apply for grants to enable local authorities to share ideas regarding enforcement against rogue landlords and poor housing standards. The deadline for applications closed on 30 November 2018.

April

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    New database of rogue landlords and property agents

    The Rogue Landlords and Property Agents Database is introduced and the MHCLG publishes guidance for local authorities on using the database including the criteria for determining whether an entry is to be made on the database.

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    New regulations to ban rogue landlords and letting agents

    The Housing and Planning Act 2016 (Banning Order Offences) Regulations 2018 came into force.

    If a landlord or letting agent has been found guilty of certain offences listed in the regulations, the local authority can ask the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to issue a banning order to prevent the landlord or letting agent from letting the property for a period of time (not less than 12 months). The local authority then has a discretion to make an entry on the Rogue Landlords and Property Agents Database.

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    Government publishes response on the regulation of letting and managing agents

    The MHCLG publishes the Government's response to the call for evidence on protecting consumers in the letting and managing agents market.

    The key proposals are:

    • to establish a code of practice for letting and managing agents governed by an independent regulator;
    • to require letting and managing agents to undertake mandatory qualifications in order to practice; and
    • to set up a working group to develop a regulatory regime.
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    Minimum energy efficiency standards for new lettings

    The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 come into force in relation to domestic private rented property on 1 April 2018. These introduce Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards to new lettings of private rented properties in England and Wales. Unless an exemption applies, when a new tenancy is granted of residential property, it must hold an Energy Performance Certificate of at least an "E" rating.

February

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    Government consultation on electrical safety

    The MHCLG publishes a consultation paper entitled: Electrical safety in the private rented sector, which seeks views on the recommendations of the Private Rented Sector Electrical Safety Working Group.

    Those recommendations include a requirement for residential properties in England to be subject to mandatory electrical installation checks every five years and for landlords to provide an Electrical Installation Condition Report to a tenant at the beginning of a tenancy.

2017

October

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    Government publishes call for evidence on the regulation of letting and managing agents

    The DCLG publishes a call for evidence on Protecting consumers in the letting and managing agent market seeking views on whether a new regulatory model is needed for agents in the leasehold and private rented sectors.

February

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    Publication of Housing White Paper

    The then DCLG publishes a Housing White Paper: Fixing our broken housing market commencing a consultation on changes to planning policy and legislation in relation to planning for housing, sustainable development and the environment.

    The paper details the Government’s intention to review the planning system to ensure that homes are built quickly once planning permissions are granted, and the private rented market to “make renting fairer” for tenants and the leasehold sector to “promote transparency and fairness” by reviewing ground rent structures and the sale of leasehold properties.

    Essential Reading: Our Insight
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