A couple of notes for the first of June. (It looks lovely out there, but if 6 socially distanced people from separate households turn up in my block’s communal gardens I will Not Be Happy).
The Tenant Fees Act 2019 as of 1 June 2020 applies to all tenancies and statutory periodic tenancies entered into before 1 June 2019. This means that any term in a tenancy agreement which requires what is now a prohibited payment is of no effect, and any landlord or agent who demands and receives such a payment will be in breach. If the payment is made by the tenant by mistake, it must be returned within 28 days. If the landlord is on breach (even via their agent), then no section 21 notice can be served. There is also the prospect of a fine of £5000 (or up to £30,000 on repeat offences), having to repay the payment and banning orders.
There is a question over fees that have been taken ‘in advance’, before 1 June 2020, but where the reason for the fee occurs after 1 June 2020 (eg for a checkout fee). As my colleague Sarah Cummins explains here, that is likely to be a prohibited payment.
And yes, I need to update the section 21 validity flowchart again.
Also in force from 1 June, but not actually applying to new (or any) tenancies until 1 July 2020 are The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. So, any private landlords with a current void should ensure that the property complies, because for any tenancy starting on or after 1 July 2020, there is a penalty of up to £30,000 for non-compliance. (Our note on the draft regulations is here.) MHCLG has issued Guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities on 1 June 2020.
[Update – as noted by Eva in the comments, the Regs apply to all ‘new specified tenancies’ from 1 July 2020. But a ‘new specified tenancy’ is defined as a tenancy that starts on or after the date the Regs are in force. The Regs are in force on 1 June 2020. So what I think this means in effect is that from 1 July 2020, the Regs will apply to any relevant tenancy commencing on or after 1 June 2020.]