Coronavirus Bill – Tenancy notices extended to 3 months

by Nick Thompson

10:32 AM, 24th March 2020
About 7 months ago

Coronavirus Bill – Tenancy notices extended to 3 months

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Coronavirus Bill – Tenancy notices extended to 3 months

SCHEDULE 29 of the Coronavirus Bill outlines government policy for Assured shorthold tenancy evictions. Click here to download the entire Bill.

It looks as if the only changes in the new bill are an extension of notice periods under the Housing act 1988 from 2 months to 3 months. The relevant sections of the new Bill and Housing act 1988 are copied below.

Section 3 RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES: PROTECTION FROM EVICTION Interpretation

(1) In this Schedule “the relevant period” means the period—(a)beginning with the day after the day on which this Act is passed, and(b)ending with 30 September 2020.

(2) The relevant national authority may by regulations made by statutory instrument amend sub-paragraph (1)(b) to specify a later date than the date for the time being specified there.

(3) In this Schedule “relevant national authority” means—(a)in relation to England, the Secretary of State, and(b)in relation to Wales, the Welsh Ministers.

Assured shorthold tenancies

Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (recovery of possession on expiry or termination of assured shorthold tenancy) is to be read, in relation to notices given under subsection (1) or (4) of that section during the relevant period,as if—

(a)in subsection (1)(b) for “two months’” there were substituted “three months’”,

(b)in subsection (4)(a) for “two months” there were substituted “three months”, and

(c)in subsection (4E)(b) for “two months” there were substituted “three months”.

Housing Act 1988

21 Recovery of possession on expiry or termination of assured shorthold tenancy.

(1)Without prejudice to any right of the landlord under an assured shorthold tenancy to recover possession of the dwelling-house let on the tenancy in accordance with Chapter I above, on or after the coming to an end of an assured shorthold tenancy which was a fixed term tenancy, a court shall make an order for possession of the dwelling-house if it is satisfied—

(a)that the assured shorthold tenancy has come to an end and no further assured tenancy (whether shorthold or not) is for the time being in existence, other than [F1an assured shorthold periodic tenancy (whether statutory or not)]; and

(b)the landlord or, in the case of joint landlords, at least one of them has given to the tenant not less than two months’ notice [F2in writing] stating that he requires possession of the dwelling-house.

[F3(1A)Subsection (1B) applies to an assured shorthold tenancy of a dwelling-house in England if—

(a)it is a fixed term tenancy for a term certain of not less than two years, and

(b)the landlord is a private registered provider of social housing.

(1B)The court may not make an order for possession of the dwelling-house let on the tenancy unless the landlord has given to the tenant not less than six months’ notice in writing—

(a)stating that the landlord does not propose to grant another tenancy on the expiry of the fixed term tenancy, and

(b)informing the tenant of how to obtain help or advice about the notice and, in particular, of any obligation of the landlord to provide help or advice.]

(2)A notice under paragraph (b) of subsection (1) above may be given before or on the day on which the tenancy comes to an end; and that subsection shall have effect notwithstanding that on the coming to an end of the fixed term tenancy a statutory periodic tenancy arises.

(3)Where a court makes an order for possession of a dwelling-house by virtue of subsection (1) above, any statutory periodic tenancy which has arisen on the coming to an end of the assured shorthold tenancy shall end (without further notice and regardless of the period) [F4in accordance with section 5(1A)].

(4)Without prejudice to any such right as is referred to in subsection (1) above, a court shall make an order for possession of a dwelling-house let on an assured shorthold tenancy which is a periodic tenancy if the court is satisfied—

(a)that the landlord or, in the case of joint landlords, at least one of them has given to the tenant a notice [F5in writing] stating that, after a date specified in the notice, being the last day of a period of the tenancy and not earlier than two months after the date the notice was given, possession of the dwelling-house is required by virtue of this section; and

(b)that the date specified in the notice under paragraph (a) above is not earlier than the earliest day on which, apart from section 5(1) above, the tenancy could be brought to an end by a notice to quit given by the landlord on the same date as the notice under paragraph (a) above.

[F6(4ZA)In the case of a dwelling-house in England, subsection (4)(a) above has effect with the omission of the requirement for the date specified in the notice to be the last day of a period of the tenancy.]

[F7(4A)Where a court makes an order for possession of a dwelling-house by virtue of subsection (4) above, the assured shorthold tenancy shall end in accordance with section 5(1A).]

[F8(4B)A notice under subsection (1) or (4) may not be given in relation to an assured shorthold tenancy of a dwelling-house in England—

(a)in the case of a tenancy which is not a replacement tenancy, within the period of four months beginning with the day on which the tenancy began, and

(b)in the case of a replacement tenancy, within the period of four months beginning with the day on which the original tenancy began.

(4C)Subsection (4B) does not apply where the tenancy has arisen due to section 5(2).

(4D)Subject to subsection (4E), proceedings for an order for possession under this section in relation to a dwelling-house in England may not be begun after the end of the period of six months beginning with the date on which the notice was given under subsection (1) or (4).

(4E)Where—

(a)a notice under subsection (4) has been given in relation to a dwelling-house in England, and

(b)paragraph (b) of that subsection requires the date specified in the notice to be more than two months after the date the notice was given,

proceedings for an order for possession under this section may not be begun after the end of the period of four months beginning with the date specified in the notice.]


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Comments

Luke P

11:06 AM, 24th March 2020
About 7 months ago

So notice can be served today, just with a 3 month period, right?

John Russell

12:19 PM, 24th March 2020
About 7 months ago

So I issued a section 21 - 6 weeks ago. What does this mean to me please.

Craig Davis

12:21 PM, 24th March 2020
About 7 months ago

What is the general consensus on a notice already served and an application for possession could be filed next week? Is it still worth doing?

Mark Arme

18:06 PM, 24th March 2020
About 7 months ago

Have I got this right. Tenant stops paying rent on 1 April. Doesn't pay on 1 May either. Normally at that point I could S21 him with two months notice and simultaneously S8 him with notice of court proceedings after 15 May (not including allowance of service in this example, trying to keep it simple).

So now I have to wait for tenant not to pay on 1 April, 1 May and 1 June, before I can now issue a S21 requiring him to leave after 1 Sept. At the same time I can S8 notifying I will start action after 1 Sept.

So in essence, given time for the courts to do there bit, tenant could be there rent free from 1 April until the end of the year..???

I also have a tenant that I am already taking action against, S8 dated to be effective on 31 March. What happens there?

Luke P

19:43 PM, 24th March 2020
About 7 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Arme at 24/03/2020 - 18:06
You can issue a s.21 without the necessity of any arrears outside the initial four months and provided it ends after the fixed term (presumably six months). The only change appears to be the notice expiry length is now 3 months. Serve a s.21 today if you like.

Seething Landlord

1:02 AM, 25th March 2020
About 7 months ago

The change appears to take effect only from the day after the Act is passed, probably Friday 27th of March.

Luke P

1:37 AM, 25th March 2020
About 7 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 25/03/2020 - 01:02
Indeed, I thought it had passed yesterday, but seemingly not. Although I think it’s academic because I doubt anyone will get a Hearing date nor a Bailiff appointment.

Laura Delow

8:18 AM, 25th March 2020
About 7 months ago

My understanding is this change won't affect eviction proceedings already underway.

John Russell

8:40 AM, 25th March 2020
About 7 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Laura Delow at 25/03/2020 - 08:18
Hi Laura
Only the section 21 has been served and its about 7 weeks since that was done

John Russell

8:43 AM, 25th March 2020
About 7 months ago

Reply to the comment left by John Russell at 25/03/2020 - 08:40
This tenant made a fraudulent claim without my knowledge and as a result his benefits where stopped for 6 weeks and then reduced by 30% of course I pick up the cost of his crime

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