Right back at the beginning of lockdown, the government announced a complete ban on evictions in an attempt to prevent potential hardship for tenants. Now, as part of a continued package of support measures for renters, not only have they extended the eviction ban for an additional month, they have also introduced a new six month notice period . Here’s everything you need to know about the new legislation…
The Six Month Notice Period
Buy-to-let landlords are now legally obliged to grant tenants a six months’ notice period prior to seeking possession through the courts in the majority of cases, including section 21 evictions and rent arrears under six months.
This new legislation applies to both the private and social rented sectors and is set to remain in place until at least 31/03/2021. Exceptions will however be made in the most extreme cases, with courts expected to prioritise cases involving anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse or fraud.
Landlords seeking possession who are affected by the following cases will be granted shorter notice periods:
- Anti-social behaviour (4 x weeks’ notice)
- Domestic abuse (2 – 4 weeks’ notice)
- False statement (2 – 4 weeks’ notice)
- Over 6 months’ rent arrears (4 x weeks’ notice)
- Breach of immigration rules ‘Right to Rent’ (3 x months’ notice)
Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, commented: “We have developed a package of support for renters to ensure they continue to be protected over winter. I have changed the law so that renters are protected by a six month notice period until March 2021.
“No tenant will have been legally evicted for six months at the height of the pandemic as the stay on possession proceedings has been extended until 20 September.
“For the most egregious cases, for example those involving anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse perpetrators, notice periods have returned to their normal level, and landlords will be able to progress serious rent arrears cases more quickly.
“These changes will support landlords to progress the priority cases while keeping the public safe over winter. We will keep these measures under review and decisions will continue to be guided by the latest public health advice.”
But What Effect Will These Changes Have on Landlords?
Ben Beadle, CEO of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) said, “A blanket extension is unacceptable, especially so close to the deadline.
“An enormous amount of work as gone into finding a balance between supporting tenants who have been affected by the pandemic and preventing significant financial harm to landlords, in accordance with the Government’s promise. This announcement satisfies no-one.”
“Landlords have been left powerless in exercising their legal right to deal with significant arrears unrelated to Covid-19, antisocial behaviour and extremely disruptive tenants who make life miserable for their neighbours and housemates.”
“Private landlords cannot be expected to foot the bill for government failure. There must now be a plan to support households to pay their bills and to compensate landlords fully for their lost income.”
“Only this will give both tenants and landlords security and reduce the risk of widespread tenancy failure.”
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