Protection from eviction
Residential Private Rented Tenancies Protection From Eviction During Covid19 outbreak.
From the 26th March 2020 The Coronavirus Act (as amended) came into force, providing measures designed to protect tenants from "no-fault evictions" during the outbreak.
- Landlords are currently required to give 6 months’ notice of their intention to evict a tenant, except where a section 8 notice is served for the following grounds: anti-social behaviour, false or fraudulent statements provided by the tenant; over six months accumulated rent arrears; breach of immigration rules under the ‘Right to Rent’ policy or the tenant has passed away.
For possession claims issued before 3 August 2020, landlords have until 30 April 2021 to serve a “reactivation notice” to pursue their claim.
- Landlords are expected to offer their tenants who can prove they are in difficulty due to Coronavirus related issues up to 3 months rent payment holiday as appropriate to help them through these challenging times. This must be an agreement between the landlord and tenant, a tenant cannot just decide to not pay rent. Note, however that the rent is still owed and will have to be made up at a later date.
Court arrangements and rules introduced in September 2020 have been extended until the end of July 2021 to ensure that the most serious cases, such as anti-social behaviour or fraud, are prioritised and landlords will be required to provide the courts with information on how the pandemic has impacted their tenants.
A new free mediation pilot is also under way to support landlords and tenants to resolve disputes without a formal court hearing. This will help tenants at an early stage of the possession process, mitigating the risk of tenants losing their homes.
Until 31 May 2021 Bailiffs and High Court Enforcement Officers will not be able to enforce possession orders apart from on the following grounds:
- Where a possession claim is against trespassers who are persons unknown to the landlord.
- Where possession has been granted because of anti-social behaviour after serving a Section 8 notice.
- Where possession has been granted after serving a Section 8 notice for rent (8, 10 and/or 11) and the arrears total at least six months.
- Where the possession order has been granted on the basis of a false or fraudulent statement by a tenant after serving a Section 8 notice.
Landlords who rely on the rental income to pay a mortgage on the property are expected to approach their lender for a maximum 6 month repayment holiday to cover the period for which they are not receiving rent.
These are unprecedented times which need understanding and compromise from all and it is hoped that any issues between landlords and tenants can be reasonably resolved.
All landlords are reminded that in order to legally evict a tenant they must have received a possession order from the Court. Any attempt to remove a tenant from a property without the necessary possession order would be illegal and could have severe consequences.
Guidance on the eviction process can be found here.
NOTE Restriction on evictions has now been extended to at least the 31 May 2021