Further to our previous article regarding the extended stay for Possession Claims, an amendment to Schedule 29 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 has finally been announced. Coming into force on 01 June 2021, this amendment will reduce the extended six month notice period for S.21 and S.8 notices to four months.
This will be a welcome relief to landlords across the country who had originally been told that the extended notice period would only be in force until 31 March 2021.
These further amended regulations will apply to S.21 and S.8 notices until 30 September 2021 when it is anticipated the notice period will be reduced again.
As before there are exemptions and therefore prior to service of the relevant notice landlords should consider whether they can rely on one of the following S.8 grounds which would require a shorter notice period of up to 4 weeks’ (circumstance depending):-
- The tenant has engaged in anti-social behaviour; and
- The tenant is in rent arrears of over four months.
From 01 August 2021, where a tenant has rent areas of less than four months a notice period of two months will be required.
Whilst this is still not ideal for landlords it is a step in the right direction. Furthermore, subject to the public health advice, it is anticipated that notice periods will return to their pre-Covid-19 requirements of 2 months from 01 October 2021. Although as always, this is subject to change.
The Government have insisted that this phased approach ensures that tenants continue to be protected by the longer notice periods whilst simultaneously allowing landlords to access justice.
In addition to the changes in the regulations the Government has confirmed that the current ban on bailiff-enforced evictions in England, which was introduced as an emergency measure during lockdown, will end on 31 May 2021 which should in theory get the ball rolling in any existing stayed possession claims. Whether this was lead to an increase in possession claims remains to be seen.
It is important to note, however, that bailiffs have been asked not to carry out an eviction if anyone living in the property has any Covid-19 symptoms or are self-isolating.
As before, the rules are subject to change and it may the case that the rules are varied or further extended. Landlords and tenants should always keep up to date with the latest developments and seek legal advice in the event of any uncertainty.