Landlords (and their solicitors) have been eagerly awaiting news of whether the Government will ease some of the current restrictions in place on residential possession as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The current restrictions, including a restriction on residential evictions and longer notice periods for section 21 and section 8 notices, are in place until 31 May 2021.
This week, the Government announced a partial easing of the rules as follows:
- the ban on residential evictions will end on 31 May 2021 and landlords will be able to begin enforcing possession orders by engaging bailiffs. Bailiffs have however been asked not to enforce against any tenant who has Covid or is self-isolating;
- from 1 June 2021, the notice period for section 8 and section 21 notices will be 4 months, down from 6 months (with similar exceptions to before);
- the exception regarding rent arrears is changing, so that from 1 June 2021, if landlords can show 4 months’ rent is in arrears, the notice period for the section 8 notice is reduced to 4 weeks. This is a change from the current rules, which provide that 6 months’ rent must be in arrears to take advantage of this exception;
- from 1 August 2021, for cases where less than 4 months’ rent is in arrears, landlords will only have to provide 2 months’ notice (as opposed to 6 months under the current rules); and
- landlords will have 8 months from serving their section 21 notice to bring possession proceedings (as opposed to the current 10 months).
Further changes may come into effect from 30 September 2021. Whilst this does not signal a reversion to the “normal” rules on residential possessions, it will no doubt be viewed by landlords as a welcome step in the right direction.
If you require any assistance with possessions or other property disputes, please contact Rosanna Horton (email@example.com) or another member of Howes Percival’s property litigation team.
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