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Legal changes

Government announces a reduction in the minimum notice periods required on residential evictions

The Government has announced the notice period has been reduced from six months to four months.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic the Government has introduced various measures which delay a landlord’s ability to evict tenants. 

Notice periods reduced

The Government has announced that from 1 June 2021 to 30 September 2021, four months’ notice will be required (a reduction from the previous requirement of six months’ notice).

The Government indicated that, subject to public health advice, by 1 October 2021, the notice periods required may return to ‘pre-pandemic levels’.

Notice to Quit/Notice Seeking Possession

The current position requires that for residential evictions, landlords are to provide at least six months’ notice to tenants, with exceptions applying to more serious cases, including but not limited to, anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse and accumulated rent arrears for a specified time period.

The Government announced new notice periods for notices to quit/notices seeking possession. Four months’ notice will now be required which has been reduced from the previous requirement of six months’ notice.

The current exceptions to this rule will remain in force but the timeframes have been reduced in line with the notice period required. The exceptions that apply where the tenancy is protected or a statutory tenancy under the Rent Act 1977 are as follows:

  • Anti-social behaviour – immediate to four weeks’ notice required;
  • Domestic abuse – two to four weeks’ notice required;
  • False statement – two to four weeks’ notice required;
  • No right to rent – two weeks’ notice required;
  • Death of tenant – two months’ notice period required;
  • Serious rent arrears (arrears of at least four months’ rent unpaid) - a four week notice period will apply; and
  • Non-serious rent arrears (arrears of less than four months’ rent unpaid) - a two-month notice period will apply for those notices served on or after 1 August 2021.

Prescribed form

In addition to the recent change to the prescribed form to be used from 4 May 2021, for notices that are to be deemed served on or after 1 June 2021, a new form must be used which specifies the reduced notice period.

Bailiff evictions

In addition to the above, the Government also announced that the current ban on bailiff evictions will be lifted on 31 May 2021. Bailiffs should, however, be mindful as to whether anybody living in the property has symptoms of COVID-19 or is self-isolating. In those situations, bailiffs should not carry out an eviction.

Our social housing solicitors and landlord and tenant solicitors can provide expert advice on any issues relating to residential evictions.

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