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Changes to housing eviction notices and notice periods

Landlords will be aware that new emergency measures have been extended to give tenants extra protection from eviction during the Covid-19 pandemic. Landlords should also be aware that the emergency legislation does not provide for rent holidays and that tenants are still required to pay rent.

Rosemary Keczkes, chair of the Law Society housing law committee says that “The government is advising landlords and tenants to have open and honest conversations about rent payments which are still due. These conversations could include the financial hardships being faced by tenants, reasonable rent payments and repayments schedules”.

As before, landlords cannot legally evict tenants without a court order. The amendments made by the Coronavirus Act 2020 extend the notice period of a notice served by a landlord seeking possession, meaning that the landlord must now wait for a three-month period following a correctly served notice to pass before seeking possession via court proceedings.

The period that the Coronavirus Act 2020 applies to is from 26 March to 30 September 2020, with additional powers for the secretary of state for England and the Welsh minister to extend this period for up to a further six months.

It is also worth remembering that all possession proceedings in courts are suspended from 27 March 2020.

Which tenancies are affected?

The amendments apply to notices served after 26 March 2020 in relation to a protected and statutory tenancy, a secure tenancy, an assured tenancy (including assured shorthold), a flexible tenancy, a demoted tenancy and an introductory tenancy.

Which grounds for possession are included?

All grounds for possession including anti-social behaviour are included.

Are there updated forms?

There are new updated prescribed forms for section 8 and section 21 evictions.

Form 3 (Notice seeking possession of a property let on an assured or an assured agricultural occupancy) and Form 6A (no-fault possession notice on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy) have been changed to reflect the new legislation which came into force on 26 and 27 March 2020 and should be used by landlords in England up to 30 September 2020.

Are there any exemptions?

The new rules do not apply to licences, contractual tenancies and tenancies granted in the course of employment.

Posted on 11 May, 2020 by Ortolan

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