Housing Changes Timeline England and Wales
New, upcoming and past legislation/changes for the private rented sector in a simple to follow timeline.
Note: where a change affects England and Wales jointly, clicking the node will go to the England guidance page.
View list of recent articles under the new legislation category.
Making Tax Digital06 April 2023
Anyone with rental income of more than £10,000 a year from property must be ready to start recording and filing online.
Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 Commencement01 December 2022
One of the biggest changes to residential renting legislation in Wales. Includes:
- Assured shorthold tenancy no longer used and replaced by “occupation contracts” which must be in writing
- Possession notices changed including minimum six months notice for the “no-fault” notice which cannot be given within first six months of contract
- Retaliatory evictions introduced
- Fitness for habitation rules
- Joint contract holders (no longer referred to as tenants) procedures for changing during a contract
- Much more …
Smoke and CO Alarm changes01 October 2022
The duty to install carbon monoxide alarms is extended to any room containing a fixed combustion appliance other than a gas cooker. These must be installed before 1 October. A landlord must also repair or replace a faulty prescribed alarm if reported.
Fire Safety Act16 May 2022
The Fire Safety Act commences in England from 16 May 2022.
This expands the Fire Safety Order to include the building’s structure and external walls and any common parts and all doors between the domestic premises and common parts.
Right to Rent Checks Changing for Some Documents06 April 2022
The way in which Biometric Residence Card (BRC), Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) and Frontier Worker Permit (FWP) holders evidence their right to rent is changing.From 6 April 2022, BRC, BRP and FWP holders will evidence their right to rent using the Home Office online service only, presentation of a physical document will no longer be acceptable.
Wales notice periods pre-pandemic levels
25 March 2022
We understand that possession notice lengths in Wales will revert to pre-pandemic levels.
Six Months Notice Extended
17 December 2021
Six months notice requirements extended until 24 March 2022.
Fire Safety Act01 October 2021
The Fire Safety Act commences in Wales from 1 October 2021.
This expands the definitions contained in the Fire Safety Order.
Notice lengths reduced to pre-pandemic levels01 October 2021
For England, notice lengths (section 8 and 21) are reduced to pre-pandemic levels.
This means 2 months notice for section 21 and 2 weeks notice for ground 8 (two months arrears).Brand new notices must be used from 1 October 2021.
Six Months Notice Extended
30 September 2021
Six months notice requirements extended until 31 December 2021.
Length of Section 8 For Rent Arrears Reduced
01 August 2021
If the tenant has less than 4 months rent arrears, the length of the section 8 notice can be 2 months on grounds 8, 10 and 11 (reduced from 4 months notice).Where the tenant is in 4 months or more arrears, the length of the section 8 remains at 4 weeks.
Right to Rent Changing for EEA
01 July 2021
The right to rent guidance has been updated with new documents acceptable when conducting checks.
New Section 21 and section 8 Notice Plus Revised Notice Lengths
01 June 2021
New section 21 and section 8 notice to be used in England.Notice periods reduced from 6 months to 4 months in most cases.Level of rent arrears where 4 weeks notice can be given is reduced from 6 months arrears to 4 months arrears.
New Section 8 Notice
04 May 2021
New section 8 notice to be used in England
Debt Respite (Breathing Space) Regulations
04 May 2021
In certain circumstances, a debtor (tenant in our context) will be able to apply for breathing space where no action (including serving a section 8 notice on rent arrears ground) must be taken during the breathing space timeframe.
01 April 20201
Electrical inspections and reports required on all existing tenancies.
Evictions Ban Further Extended
11 March 2021
The increased notice lengths and evictions ban has been extended to 31 May 2021 for England and 30 June 2021 for Wales.
Evictions Ban Extended
11 January 2021
The evictions ban has been extended to 21 February 2021 for England and 31 March 2021 for Wales.
Updated How to Rent Guide
10 December 2020
The How to Rent Guide which is legally required to be provided to tenants by landlords in England granting an assured shorthold tenancy has been updated.
17 November 2020
Evictions are suspended in England for most possession orders until 11 January 2021.
Green Homes Grant
End of September 2020
Apply for grant vouchers worth up to £5,000 under the scheme
New Section 8 Notice Required and Changes to Some Grounds
29 September 2020
A new section 8 notice is prescribed. Six months notice extended to 31 March 2020 and reduction in notice period for anti-social behaviour.
Courts Reopen and Pre-action Plan
21 September 2020
Courts reopen for possession cases after temporary suspension due to Covid-19 Rules. Pre-action lan to be followed before serving a possession notice.
New Section 21 Form 6A02 September 2020
New section 21 prescribed form 6A to be used.
Six Months Notice (England)29 August 2020
Six months notice required in most cases although for section 8 there are a number of differences.
Six Months Notice (Wales)24 July 2020
Six months notice required except for section 8 anti-social behaviour which remains at 3 months.
Electrical Rules (New Tenancies)01 June 2020
Requirement to ensure electrical standards (18th edition) are met and an inspection and report completed.
Tenant Fees Ban (Existing Tenancies)01 June 2020
Tenant fees ban extends to existing tenancies from 1 June 2020
Prescribed Limits for Certain Permitted Payments28 April 2020
Limits amount which can be charged for a failure to pay rent and the loss of a key.
Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) (Existing Tenancies)01 April 2020
Existing tenancies must have a minimum EPC rating of “E”.
Possession Action Suspended27 March 2020
A landlord with a notice about to expire cannot start possession proceedings during this 90 day period
Notice Length 3 Months26 March 2020
Coronavirus Act 2020 commences including 3 months notice.
Fitness Human Habitation (Some Existing)20 March 2020
Fitness for Human Habitation Act applies to existing periodic tenancies.
Holding Deposits Information Requirements28 February 2020
When receiving a holding deposit (before a tenancy has been granted) specified information must be given.
Tenancy Fees Ban01 September 2019
It is an offence for a landlord or agent to require a prohibited payment to be made to the landlord, agent, or any other person in consideration of the grant, renewal or continuance of a standard occupation contract (AST), or pursuant to a term which purports to require the payment to be made.
How to Rent Guide Updated01 June 2019
How to rent guide updated for tenant fees ban.
Section 21 Form 6A Updated01 June 2019
Section 21, form 6A updated.
Tenant Fee Ban (New/Renewals)01 June 2019
From 1 June 2019, if you enter into a tenancy agreement, student let or licence to occupy housing in the private rented sector, you will be prohibited from charging any fees or other payments that are not included in the list of permitted payments.
Agents to Have Client Money Protection01 April 2019
Letting agents to have client money protection.
Energy Efficiency Minimum Spend (£3,500)01 April 2019
In order to obtain an exemption if property does not meet minimum “E” rating, landlord must spend at least £3,500
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 (New and Renewals)20 March 2019
Any privately rented home, including the common parts of a shared building, must be fit for someone to live in throughout a tenancy, not just the start.
Parts of Deregulation Act 2015 Apply to Existing Tenancies01 October 2018
Parts of the Deregulation Act 2015 apply to existing tenancies:
- Retaliatory eviction provisions
- Removal of requirement to expire notice “at the end of a period”
- Time limits when section 21 can be served and must be used
- Return apportioned rent if the tenant leaves as a result of section 21
HMO Licensing - Removal of Storeys and Minimum Room Sizes01 October 2018
Changes made to HMO licensing – number of storeys removed (so now any property with 5 or more unrelated sharers requires a licence) and minimum room sizes.
How to Rent Guide Updated26 June 2018
How to rent guide updated.
GDPR (Data Protection)25 May 2018
GDPR regulations commence making changes to data protection rules.
Banning Orders and Landlord Database06 April 2018
If a landlord is convicted of a “banning order offence” a local authority may apply to the First-tier Tribunal for a banning order against the landlord or agent who committed the offence
Gas Safety 'MOT Style' Records06 April 2018
Landlords can carry out the annual gas safety check in the two months before the due date and retain the existing expiry date.
Minimum Energy Efficiency Rating (MEES)01 April 2018
New tenancies and renewals must have an EPC rating of at least “E”.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 201608 December 2016
Where a new electrical appliance is purchased on or after 8 December 2016 and then provided in a letting, landlords and agents must act with due care to ensure the electrical equipment being supplied is safe and have certain accompanied information.
Rent Smart Wales23 November 2016
Requirement for all landlords to be registered. All agents must have a licence. All self-managing landlords must be licensed.
Reasonable Energy Efficiency Improvements01 April 2016
Tenants can request for “reasonable” energy efficiency improvements.
Right to Rent (Immigration Act)01 February 2016
Landlords and agents need to check the identity of all prospective occupiers.
Deregulation Act 2015 Changes01 October 2015
Big changes to requirements before a section 21 notice can be served and other things:
- How to rent guide
- Provide EPC and gas safety
- Retaliatory evictions
- Apporttioned rent
- Prescribed section 21 form 6A
- Time limits for serving and using section 21
- Removal of requirement to expire notice “at the end of a period”
Home Business Tenancies01 October 2015
“Home business tenancy” within residential premises will not become a business tenancy under Part 2 Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 if certain conditions are met.
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 201501 October 2015
Requirement to have a smoke alarm installed on each storey and a CO alarm in a room with solid fuel appliance.
Consumer Rights Act 2015 (agents display fees)27 May 2015
Agents to display fees. Also brought in unfair terms.
Several Prescribed Forms Updated (inc. Section 8 and Section 13)06 April 2015
Several prescribed forms updated:
- Section 8 notice seeking possession for England
- Section 13 notice proposing rent increase for England
- Section 6 notice proposing new terms (rarely used) for England
- Notice That Assured Agricultural Occupancy is to be Assured Shorthold Tenancy for England
Deregulation Act 2015 (Changes to Deposit Protection)26 March 2015
Changes made to deposit protection including:
- Restrictions on claim for penalty for deposits received before 6 April 2007
- Service of a section 21 notice
- Superstrike deposits
- Periodic tenancies and renewals – re-issue of prescribed information
Heat Network Regulations
18 and 31 December 2014
Distribution of heating or hot water from a central source.
New Ground 7A
20 October 2014
New ground 7A added for use with section 8 notice – serious offence committed.
Redress Schemes (Agents)
01 October 2014
Letting agents must be a member of a redress scheme.
Ground 14(aa) Added
13 May 2014
New ground added for use with a section 8 notice:
“[the tenant] has been guilty of conduct causing or likely to cause a nuisance or annoyance to the landlord of the dwelling-house, or a person employed (whether or not by the landlord) in connection with the exercise of the landlord’s housing management functions, and that is directly or indirectly related to or affects those functions,”
Universal Credit Begins Phasing in
Universal Credit begins to be phased in. Phase 1 was April 2013 – October 2013.
Council Tax Empty Homes Exemption Removed
01 April 2013
Council Tax empty homes and undergoing major works exemptions removed. In addition, second homes could be charged extra council tax if long term empty.
Localism Act 2011 Changes to Tenancy Deposit Schemes
06 April 2012
- The time for protecting a deposit is increased from 14 days to 30 days
- Prescribed information is also increased from 14 days to 30 days
- The time limit of 30 days will be absolute
- The penalty payable will be between 1 and 3 times the deposit
- A former tenant may make a claim for the penalty
- If a landlord has failed to protect within 30 days, the landlord may only serve a section 21 notice by repaying the deposit in full
- Providing prescribed information will allow service of section 21.
Smoking Ban01 July 2007
Smoking ban (applies to communal areas so affected rented property with shared parts).
Equality Act 2010
01 October 2010
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion and belief
- Sexual orientation
Tenancy Deposit Schemes06 April 2007
Requirement to protect deposits in connection with an assured shorthold tenancy.
HHSRS, HMOs and Licensing
06 April 2006
- Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
- HMO definition of more than two unrelated sharers.
- Licensing of rented property
- Tenancy deposit schemes (brought in later).
Link goes to HMO page but HHSRS is just above in left column.
Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
03 October 1998
Requirement to obtain annual gas safety record and provide occupier with a copy.
Housing Act 1996 (Assured Shorthold Default)
28 February 1997
All new tenancies assured shorthold by default. Notice required to create an assured tenancy (reverse of position since January 1989).
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations
01 January 1997
Persons who hire out furniture in the course of a business (and this includes furniture provided with rented accommodation) are required to comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 which set safety standards for fire and flame-retarding requirements for upholstered furniture manufactured after 1950.
Housing Act 1988
15 January 1989
Start of assured shorthold tenancies but a “section 20” notice had to be served in order to create an assured shorthold (otherwise was assured).