Latest update on Possession Proceedings
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has made a number of changes to the procedure of obtaining possession of residential properties. Most notably, the majority of possession proceedings have been stayed until 20 September 2020.
Whilst the stay may now be lifted, landlords need to be aware that the notice periods they are required to give their tenants have changed. The new measures can be found in the Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020.
Section 21 Notices (England)
A landlord who now wishes to serve a Section 21 Notice (a ‘no fault’ eviction notice based on a fixed term tenancy coming to an end) must give six months’ notice. Prior to the Coronavirus Act 2020, the required notice was two months.
If the tenant fails to vacate after service of the notice, a landlord in most cases can issue proceedings up to 10 months from the date of service of the notice.
Section 8 Notices- Rent arrears (England)
The position with Section 8 Notices (based on the tenant breaching their tenancy agreement) is not as straight-forward. The notice period depends on which ground is relied upon in the notice.
The most common ground is that the tenant is in rent arrears and the notice period will depend on the level of arrears, as follows:-
- Where the tenant is in arrears of six months’ rent or more, the notice period is four weeks;
- Where the tenant is in arrears of less than six months’ rent, the notice period is six months.
Prior to the Coronavirus Act 2020 the required notice for serious rent arrears was usually two weeks.
Landlords will no doubt be relieved that the stay has been lifted, however it is expected that there will be large backlog of cases for the Courts to deal with and therefore obtaining possession, even based on the Section 21 route, is unlikely to be a quick process and the new notice periods must be adhered to. If you require any further information about this article please contact Catherine Burgess.