Eviction Ban Extended - *Updated 28th August 2020*
Further u-turn for possession matters
Last week the government extended the possession ban, with talk of further extending the notice periods which must be given before evicting a tenant to 6 months, confusingly since section 21 notices were only valid for 6 months (note that this has been extended to 10 months).
In a further turn of events, Ministers have today announced that the courts WILL open on 20 September 2020 but most importantly, they have provided welcome clarity on the notice periods.
Regulations published today, and coming into force tomorrow, will mean landlords will only need to give tenants who have committed anti-social behaviour four weeks’ notice of their intention to repossess a property. Those who have committed acts of domestic violence will only need to be given two weeks’ notice.
In cases of rent arrears, landlords will now only be required to give four weeks’ notice where a tenant has accrued six months of arrears.
Landlord should be aware that the six-month notice period will remain in cases where landlords need to regain possession of a property in order to live in it.
We also await clarity as to how the court will be resourced to deal with the huge back log of cases. We will provide further updates where possible
The regulations introducing these changes can be accessed at: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/914/contents/made .
Update from 21 August 2020
A further blow to the residential property sector today as the Government announces that the eviction ban due to be lifted on Monday is now extended to 20 September 2020. This brings the ban on evictions to 6 months, and we cannot rule out the possibility of further extension, not only to account for any further manifestation of the COVID-19 pandemic, but to help the courts battle through the huge backlog of cases already in the system or being added to the system.
Whilst not every case will be suitable for eviction, there are many that are, and landlords are already feeling the pain. They have been stripped of their means to enforce the terms of their tenancy agreements and vulnerable to exploitation. Some have mitigated the effects of these restrictions by working with tenants where possible and taking advantage of the government’s financial support, but this does not go far enough.
This will be a welcome extension to many vulnerable tenants but at the other end of that scale it is potentially catastrophic for some landlords who are already feeling the devastating consequences of the pandemic and for who, resolve is once again placed out of reach.
When the courts are able to consider these cases, it is going to take a vast amount of time to get on top of these cases. A surge of landlords choosing to sell up may sadly be inevitable and further strain on the economy.