4 Important Legal Updates Affecting Letting Agents in 2021

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Guest blog by James Dilgul, Head of Marketing at Fixflo, the UK’s leading provider of repairs and maintenance management software.


As the UK moves slowly towards life no longer frozen by Covid, many of the provisions put into place to protect tenants (and landlords) are being rolled back. Landlords and letting agents will have to deal with a perennially shifting landscape as the entire sector moves to redefine itself in the wake of the pandemic. Moving into the final quarter of the year, there are a number of legal updates that require flagging up to ensure both letting agents and landlords remain compliant.

The stay of execution to eviction proceedings has been removed.

Protection from bailiffs has been removed and, in theory, all legal evictions can now go ahead. Letting agents need to be aware, however, that there is currently no government guidance and there have been problems with tenants in arrears claiming to be suffering from Covid and thus unable to be evicted. There needs to be a clear process put into place for what to do in these circumstances.

Notice periods have been reduced

Notice periods for serving Section 21 and Section 8 notices have been reduced – from 6 months to 4, with the expectation that they will disappear entirely by the end of September. This is part of a drive to speed up proceedings. Review hearings are currently still in place but as the feared flood of evictions has not occurred (evictions are currently sitting at around 3,000 a month compared to 11,000 a month pre-Covid), it’s likely they will soon be removed from proceedings to streamline the process.

Changes to Right to Rent status

There has been a big change to Right to Rent (R2R) checks due to Brexit. EU Nationals no longer get special consideration and now need settled status in order to reside in the UK long-term, which has implications for their Right to Rent. While landlords do not need to recheck existing tenants, from 1st July EEA citizens and family members can no longer rely on an EEA passport or national ID card to prove their right to rent a property. They will require immigration status in the same way as other foreign nationals. Irish nationals are exempt from this requirement and there are a number of subcategories and additional exemptions. In case of confusion, landlords and letting agents would do well to consult with a legal professional.

Renters’ Reform White Paper

The anticipated Renters’ Reform Bill has not materialised, and the Government has indicated it plans to take a more comprehensive review of the whole sector, with a white paper potentially released in the autumn and legislation due in 2022. Raising industry standards will form the focus of the Government’s review, with early indications that the Section 21 notice may no longer be abolished. There have also been preliminary discussions around a specific Property Ombudsman to improve tenants’ right to redress against landlords who do not employ a letting or managing agent and a landlord registration scheme to be implemented across England (which is currently the only part of the UK that does not already have one). Tenant deposits are also expected to come under the spotlight, with the Government looking at underwriting bank accounts to manage them. More details are expected later this autumn.

Presenting Fixflo’s quarterly compliance update webinar in July, leading lettings lawyer and Partner at JMW Solicitor, David Smith discussed these regulatory changes and answered live audience questions. To access the full recording of the hour-long webinar and 30+ other on-demand videos, please visit Fixflo’s archive of on-demand webinars.


Guest blog by James Dilgul, Head of Marketing at Fixflo, the UK’s leading provider of repairs and maintenance management software.


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