Hello, and welcome to Wednesday’s guidance and advice for agents and suppliers trying to find a way through the current crisis.
If you have appropriate advice, do please let us know - an email to firstname.lastname@example.org will do the trick. Thank you.
First a reminder that there’s a really terrific array of webinars from Propertymark, covering sales, lettings and wider industry issues.
There are leading speakers on topics impacting the industry and for Propertymark members this is a simple way to work towards your annual Continuing Professional Development commitment without having to leave your home.
There's another webinar today, too, and it's from the Property Academy: join Peter Knight, Iain White, Gary Barker, Simon Whale, Heather Staff, Andy Soloman, Ben Sellers and Kristjan Byfield as they discuss where they see the industry moving and the actions you can be taking right now to ensure your business is prepared for the upside that is coming post COVID-19.
The webinar is organised by the Innovation Collaboration Group and takes place today at 11am. There is limited capacity, so do register here.
Next we have a neat summary of residential tenants’ new rights produced by Simon Wood, a barrister at Hart Brown Solicitors. It’s useful for agents and landlords as well as renters themselves and he writes:
“Residential tenants have been given a certain amount of respite by measures set out in The Coronavirus Act 2020 which came into force on 25 March 2020. The Act made important changes in respect of the notice periods relating to residential possession proceedings.
“The most significant changes relate to assured and assured shorthold tenancies, but other types of tenancy are also affected, including Rent Act tenancies.
“In respect of assured and assured shorthold tenancies for the duration of the relevant period, the minimum period for the notice periods under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 have been extended to three months. In the case of actions for possession under Ground 8 (substantial arrears of rent) this is a substantial change from the minimum period of two weeks.
“To give effect to the prescribed form of notice, Form 3, has been amended. For the accelerated possession procedure in respect of Assured Shorthold Tenancies, the notice period under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 has been extended from two to three months. Again, the prescribed Form 6A has been amended.
“The relevant period is from 26 March 2020 to 30 September 2020, and can be extended.
“In addition to these measures the courts have introduced a new direction providing that all possession proceedings brought under CPR Part 55 and all proceedings to enforce a possession order by a warrant or writ of possession are now stayed for a period of 90 days from 27 March 2020 (Practice Direction 51Z), i.e. to 25 June 2020.
“It is important for tenants to appreciate that these measures do not relieve them of the requirement to comply with their obligations under their tenancy agreement.
“The extension of the notice period, and the stay of court proceedings, simply provides them with a longer period of time before the landlord can commence an action for possession. As I say it is a breathing space so that, in particular, tenants in financial difficulties can seek whatever governmental assistance is available to alleviate their circumstances if they have been either laid off or furloughed.”
And finally today an offer from Just Move In, a home set-up service, which has launched a free ‘Bills Check-up’ service.
This service notified utility firms and suppliers about a change of address.
Agencies interested in the offer can click here.