Government Eases COVID Rules on Residential Possession

The Government has begun easing the rules around residential possession proceedings, specifically those relating to notice periods. The most recent changes have seen a substantial relaxation in the notice periods.

From August 2020 until June 2021, in most cases, six months’ notice had to be given. Exceptions were available, such as in the case of extreme rent arrears. Under the latest changes, these have been reduced, and although special rules still apply on certain circumstances, they reflect the more general trend of emergency COVID regulations being gradually phased out.

Where a landlord wishes to take possession for unpaid rent, the amount of notice is now dependent on the level of rent arrears. From 1st August 2021, if a tenant has less than four months’ rent outstanding, the landlord must give 2 months’ notice of proceedings, irrespective of whether the tenant has one months or four months’ rent outstanding. However, if the outstanding arrears are more than four months, then the landlord is entitled to give four weeks’ notice. This is given by a Section 8 Notice, which is used for a breach of tenancy conditions.

A Section 8 Notice can also be used in other circumstances. However, these grounds are less common, and you should take legal advice before considering them..

When there is no specific reason for possession, the Landlord must use a Section 21 Notice. The Notice period is four months regardless of circumstances. There has been much media coverage of the Government’s intention to abolish Section 21 notices, but proposals are currently on hold due to the pandemic.

Both a Section 8 and Section 21 Notice must contain certain information and the Courts can void any notice not properly served.

Although the notice period for possession has been reduced, and bailiff evictions have now recommenced, once a landlord has obtained a possession order, there are no changes expected to the extended Court process for the foreseeable future. It therefore remains the case that obtaining possession is a lengthy process lasting many months.  Landlords are therefore, advised to not make any binding arrangements in relation to a property until possession proceedings have been fully completed.

We act for both Landlords and Tenants in relation to possession proceedings. For more information, or to book a fixed fee meeting with our Dispute Resolution Solicitor, Chris Miller, please call 01189589711 or e-mail [email protected]

Further Reading:

Tenant Amendments in Commercial Leases (The Devil is in the Detail) – Reynolds Report

The continuing impacts of COVID19 on the property market- Part 2

Do I really need a Solicitor for a Commercial Lease?

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Chris Miller works alongside Justin Sadler in the Litigation Department on a wide range of civil litigation matters including Debt Collection and possession claims, as well as assisting with contentious probate matters.

If you would like to know more or arrange a fixed fee appointment, please call us on 01189  589711. Or email Chris Miller at [email protected]

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