Residential: what's new?

Autumn/Winter 2020-21 update

As part of RICS' response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the built environment, each isurv channel has moved to a rolling update cycle to ensure content is as up to date as possible. This page will be updated with new updates to reflect the changing situation as it develops.

RICS has also released guidance in the form of our Beyond COVID-19 guides, available on isurv here:

Important updates


With the COVID-19 pandemic meaning many people have had to cover for colleagues who are unable to work, the benefits of effective accounting policies, procedures and controls, as well as training, have been brought into sharp relief. General controls and COVID-19 contingency planning are critical to ensure consistency and data safety. Other updates include further information on outsourcing, reconciliations, unidentified monies received, payment controls, fraud and COVID-19 restrictions on cash and cheques.

Ending the tenancy

There is now a whole new subsection on COVID-19 and possession claims in England, focusing on the impact of emergency legislation brought in as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is also further information on a recent Court of Appeal ruling to clarify the serving of notices after failing to supply a Gas Safety Certificate, and updates on the Renters Reform Bill.

Health and safety

The page on Electrical safety has been expanded and rewritten as a result of the introduction of The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020.

Tenant arrears and bankruptcy

Winston Jacob, the author of this section, has done a superb job of providing 'coronavirus update' info boxes throughout, in order to alert readers to the impact of the pandemic on different aspects of this topic.

More autumn/winter 2020-21 updates

Agent-solicitor relationship

Updated throughout, the major changes to this section relate to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) transaprency rules and the degree to which they have been adhered to.

Being an agent

This section has new information on NTSELAT's interest in non-disclosure of commissions and TPO's guidance on dual fees/commissions.

Complying with legislation

There are updates to this section regarding the Tenant Fees Act 2019, which now applies to tenancies regardless of when they were granted, the outcome of the BEIS consultation on The Heat Network (Meting and Billing Regulations) 2014, and Jarvis v Evans.

Letting agents: regulation and consumer protection

New information in this section relates to the Tenant Fees Act 2019, Jarvis v Evans and MHCLG guidance.

Lettings law and the client

In the latest update, author Derek Kerr has updated Consumer protection about the application of the CPRs to virtual viewings, and has provided a major update for Anti-money laundering controls and proceeds of crime, with lots of information on the responsibilities and risks for lettings agents.

Property and safety standards

The new electrical safety standards also feature in this section, as does the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018

Residential property licensing

This section has seen the inclusion of commentary on a number of cases from 2020 that have set precedents, as well as additional information on TENs, criminal offences and civil penalties, and RROs.

Short-term lettings

Updates to Assured shorthold tenancies reflect changes in notice periods as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as grounds under which landlords can still give shorter notice periods. 

Taking deposits

Both Cap on deposits and Holding deposits have been updated to reflect changes in legislation that came into effect in 2020.

Types of tenancies

The impact of COVID-19 on Assured shorthold tenancies is the main focus of this update.


See iConsult for professional guidance drafts.