In March 2020, in response to tenants being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and facing potentially significant decreases in their incomes, the government put in place a complete ban on residential property evictions. This was to ensure tenants were not evicted, facing homelessness and at greater risk of contracting COVID-19, due to rental arrears caused for some tenants, by being furloughed by their employers.
The ban has been extended several times since it was initiated, however with government measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic easing, the ban came to an end in England at midnight on 31 May 2021.
What is changing from 1 June 2021
From 1 June 2021, landlords seeking to recover possession of their property must give at least four months’ notice to tenants in all but the most serious cases (which include cases concerning anti-social behaviour and serious rental arrears of at least four or more months’ rent).
This notice can either be in the form of:
- A Section 21 notice (commonly known as a “no fault” eviction notice) that can be served at the end of a fixed term tenancy agreement or a periodic tenancy with no fixed end date;
- A Section 8 notice in circumstances where the tenant is in breach of a term of the tenancy agreement, for example by not paying rent or damaging the property.
A landlord cannot force a tenant out of a residential property without a court order. At the expiry of either a section 21 or section 8 notice, a landlord is required to issue repossession proceedings through the County Court to evict tenants.
Where a section 21 notice has been served between 29 August 2020 and 31 May 2021, the time limit for starting possession proceedings after the service of the notice is ten months, unless more than six months’ notice was required by the tenancy to be given, in which case proceedings must be commenced within four months.
For Section 21 Notices served after June 1st 2021
For section 21 notices served after 1 June 2021, the notice will be valid for 8 months from the service of the notice on the tenant, unless more than four months’ notice was required by the tenancy to be given, in which case proceedings must be commenced within four months.
Lyssa Reeve – rhw Solicitors llp
Contact rhw for legal advice
If you are a landlord considering your options regarding seeking repossession of your property or a tenant who has been served with a section 21 notice, section 8 notice or a claim form from the court seeking repossession, our Dispute Resolution team at rhw will be able to assist you.