Skip to Content

Upcoming legislation every lettings agent needs to know about


With changes to legislation coming thick and fast, landlords have never been more in need of a guiding hand from their lettings agent.

Here’s a summary of the key legislative changes that you need to be aware of in 2022 and beyond.

This article is a summary of the updates given by Rightmove Legal & Compliance Director David Cox on his monthly live News Hour webinar. Watch the full recording, including live Q&A here, and sign up for the next session in February here. This article does not constitute legal advice and all information was accurate as of 11th January 2022.

New Covid measures

Where

England and Wales

When

Now (guidance was updated on 6th January)

What

Self-isolation
  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms you should stay at home and self-isolate immediately. You should arrange to have a PCR test as soon as possible. If this PCR test result is positive, you must continue to self-isolate.
  • If you do not have COVID-19 symptoms but get a positive result on a lateral flow test,  you must stay at home and self-isolate.
  • It is possible to end self-isolation after 7 days, following two negative lateral flow tests taken 24 hours apart. The first lateral flow test cannot be taken until the sixth day.
  • Therefore:
    • If you are aged 18 years 6 months or over and you are not fully vaccinated, and you live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, you are legally required to stay at home and self-isolate.
    • If you are fully vaccinated or aged under 18 years and 6 months, and you live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, you are not legally required to self-isolate. However, you are strongly advised to take a lateral flow test every day for 7 days, and to self-isolate if any of these test results is positive.

Working from home
  • Office workers who can work from home, should do so. This advice has been in place since Monday 13th December 2021.
  • If you need to continue to go into work, you should consider taking lateral flow tests regularly to manage your own risk and the risk to others.
  • For those in the office, use the Government’s Working Safely Guidance

Viewings
  • There are no legal limits on the households which may view a home in person.
  • Government recommends that buyers take advantage of any opportunities to view homes remotely before committing to view in person.

Face coverings
  • Face coverings must be worn by members of staff in estate agent premises.
  • Staff should wear face coverings when they are likely to come into close contact with members of the public.
  • This means that the agent and anyone else visiting the property should consider wearing a face covering as they may come into contact with people they do not normally meet during a viewing.
  • Agents should make this clear to homeowners and guests prior to any viewing.

Tradespeople
  • Tradespeople can continue to work in other people’s homes unless customers or tradespeople are self-isolating.
  • Tradespeople should wear a face covering in enclosed spaces.
  • Occupants should ensure homes are clean and safe before tradespeople enter.
  • This involves cleaning items being carried by removals firms, wiping surfaces such as worktops and door handles and letting fresh air into rooms.
  • Delay work if either party is showing COVID-19 symptoms.

Want to learn more?

Read the latest official Government guidance here.

 

Right to Rent checks – end of temporary measures

Where

England only

When

When: 5th April 2022

What

  • Temporary measures introduced during the pandemic to allow Right to Rent checks to be conducted remotely, and permitting the use of scanned/photos of documents, will end on 5th April 2022.
  • The UK Government has announced its intention to introduce a new digital process to “enable checks to continue to be conducted remotely but with enhanced security”. No date for the launch of this has been provided.
  • The Government has said that new guidance will be issued prior to 6th April 2022.

Want to learn more?

Read the current guidance here. Once the guidance is issued, we’ll provide an update on a future News Hour webinar.

 

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarm changes

Where

England only

When

When: TBC (likely to be as soon as parliamentary time allows)

What

  • Bringing them in line with private landlords, social landlords will be obliged to make sure at least one smoke alarm is installed on each storey of their homes.
  • Both social and private landlords will be obliged to ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room in their homes with a fixed combustion appliance.
  • Excludes gas cookers.
  • Landlords will be legally obliged to repair or replace alarms once informed that they are faulty (testing and replacing batteries will remain the resident’s responsibility).

Want to learn more?

Read the official announcement here.

 

Section 21, specialist housing court and lifetime deposits (the Renters’ Reform Bill)

Where

England only

When

When: TBC. The White Paper is expected to be published in Spring 2022.

What

The White Paper is very likely to mention:

  • The abolition of Section 21
  • Significant reform of Section 8 Grounds
  • Provision for a Specialist Housing Court
  • The introduction of lifetime deposits for tenants

Want to learn more?

We’ll provide a full overview of the White Paper after its release on a future News Hour webinar.

 

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards – new minimum EPC rating of C or above

Where

England only (as it stands)

When

When: Likely to be introduced from 2026. A full announcement is expected before Christmas.

What

  • Landlords across Britain will be barred from letting out their properties unless they make them more energy-efficient — at an average cost of £5,000 a time — under Government plans to hit net-zero emissions from 2050.
  • A minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C is to be required for all new tenancies in April 2026 (a year later than originally planned), then for all tenancies in 2028. This will affect 3.2 million landlords.
  • Landlords face fines of up to £15,000 for non compliance.

Want to learn more?

We’ll share official guidance on a future News Hour webinar once it’s available.

 

Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA)

Where

UK (sales and auctions), England only (lettings and block management)

When

When: TBC

What

The RoPA working group report, published in 2019, outlined several key recommendations:

  • Minimum entry requirements for the industry: Individual licenses to practice and company license to operate.
  • The establishment of an independent Industry Regulator to set industry standards and regulate the industry.
  • A new Code of Practice that would be legally enforceable.
  • Mandatory professional qualifications for agents – likely to be a minimum level 3 for agents and level 4 for business owners and those with substantial management responsibilities.

Want to learn more?

Read the working group’s report here.

Save your spot on next month’s live News Hour webinar

Get the latest news and ask David your own pressing questions in our live monthly session.

Book your place >