Shock new Notice periods introduced for Residential Tenancies

Rachael James
By Rachael James

September 2020

What are the implications for Landlords? Head of Lettings, Rachael James explains

Shock new Notice periods introduced for Residential Tenancies

On the afternoon of 28th August, the Government announced sudden and drastic changes to the Coronavirus Act 2020. With effect from 29th August (i.e. the very next day), the Notice a landlord is required to give their tenant to regain possession of a property was extended from three to six months.  It is understood at this time, this rule is only temporary until 31st March 2021.

It should be noted that if a Section 8 or Section 21 Notice had been issued prior to 31 August, giving three months’ notice, the Notice is still valid and a court hearing can be applied for after the 20th September providing they are still within the validity dates.

At the present time, there is a 62,000-case backlog in the County Courts throughout the country. To enable social distancing, it is anticipated that the usual 10 cases per day could be cut down to just 2 or 3 hearings.

Because of this huge backlog, a Government Working Party has been set up to respond to calls for action in areas of greatest need.  This party will focus on priority cases which fall in to categories exempt from the new notice period, including: -

  • where arrears exceed six months rental payments, the notice period reduces to four weeks.
  • In cases of domestic abuse or riot, two weeks' notice will be sufficient
  • Where landlords are seeking possession as a result of antisocial behaviour, four weeks' notice will be sufficient

We believe that few of our clients will be adversely affected by this decision, but it would pose issues for landlords wishing to sell or move back to their property between now and the end of March 2021. If this is the case, please call your Lettings Sales Manager or myself on 01258 474265 to discuss the legal implications of your personal situation, and the best steps to take.

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