Protection from eviction

Residential Private Rented Tenancies Protection From Eviction During Covid19 outbreak.

From the 26th March 2020 The Coronavirus Act came into force and has introduced measures designed to protect tenants from eviction during the outbreak.

  • Landlords are required to give 3 months’ notice of their intention to evict a tenant.
  • 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.
  • Courts will not be dealing with applications for eviction proceedings for the next 3 months.
  • When possession proceedings start again in the Courts landlords will be expected to demonstrate that they have complied with the above.

Landlords who rely on the rental income to pay a mortgage on the property are expected to approach their lender for a similar 3 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.

On the 20th August 2020, the provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020 were been extended.  Landlords must provide 6 months’ notice to their tenants in all but the most serious circumstances when giving notice after the 29th August 2020.

These changes mean that from 29 August 2020:

  • For notices in relation to anti-social behavior, domestic abuse, rioting and false statement, the required notice periods have returned to their pre-Coronavirus Act 2020 lengths. In some cases, this means that proceedings for anti-social behavior can be brought immediately after notice has been served. Notice periods on these grounds otherwise vary, depending on the type of tenancy and ground used, between 2 weeks and 1 month.
  • Where at least 6 months of rent is unpaid, a minimum 4-week notice period will be required. If less than 6 months of rent is unpaid, then the notice period is 6 months.
  • Where a tenant has passed away or is in breach of immigration rules and does not have a right to rent a property in the United Kingdom then a minimum 3-month notice period is usually required.
  • A 6-month notice period is required for all other grounds, including Section 21 notices and, as stated earlier, where accrued rent arrears are less than the value of 6 months’ rent.
  • Landlords should be able to negotiate up to 6 months repayment holiday with their mortgage lender if their tenant is still having difficulty paying the rent.

At the expiry of the notice period, a landlord cannot force a tenant to leave their home without a court order. When the notice period expires, a landlord would need to take court action if the tenant was unable to move. Landlords are strongly advised not to commence or continue eviction proceedings during this challenging time without a very good reason.

Following the introduction of a National Lockdown on the 5th November 2020 the Government have issued further changes to protection from eviction at this time;

  • Evictions will not be enforced whilst national restrictions are in place
  • Evictions will not be enforced by bailiffs until 11 January 2021 at the earliest, except for the most serious cases such as anti-social behavior
  • The Six-month notice periods introduced on 29th August are still in place until at least the end of March 2021, except for most serious cases

 

Full details can be found www.gov.uk/guidance/government-support-available-for-landlords-and-renters-reflecting-the-current-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

NOTE The above restriction on evictions has now been extended to at least the 31 March 2021

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