10:34 AM, 7th April 2020, About A year ago 7
I have written a detailed article on the Governments intervention for Landlords and Tenants and provided links to various references and articles including the recent discussion. Click here
Most landlords will know by now that the government has suspended all current possession claims in the legal system (thought to be around 20,000) and imposed a THREE Month Notice period on Section 21, Or, Section 8 notices served after 26/3/2020
This has been for ‘health reasons’ and limited welfare assistance has been put in place. However, there are instances already emerging of tenants not passing this onto Landlords and for the Tenants who could afford to pay the rent, or a part of it, but choose not to.
Civil Justice has been withdrawn for at least three months.
I’m afraid to say that the situation is far worse than that!
In the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Guidance for Landlords and Tenants published 28th March 2020 Click here paragraph 1.7 states: “The government is working with the Master of the Rolls to widen the existing pre-action protcol on possession proceedings for Social Landlords, to include private renters and to strengthen its remit. (This is AFTER the 3 month delay on service of a Section 8 notice!) [ Justice Pre-Action Protocol for Possession Claims by Social Landlords – Click here ]
Simply put, Social Landlords grant Assured tenancies that are subject to the Pre-Action protocol. The protocol adds a series of [ time-consuming ] measures that have to be followed before a successful Possession order can be obtained.
Perhaps the worse aspect is that a Landlord has to carry out the equivalent of the Debt Pre-action protocol and discuss with the tenant a reasonable and affordable repayment plan for the arrears, after the service of a Statutory Possession notice (Form 3) and before instigating proceedings. If the Landlord doesn’t follow a number of steps set out the court has the option Not to order outright possession and could even award costs against the landlord.
I think it’s a case of, When, rather than if, the Master of the Rolls accedes to the governments – MHCLG’s request to add Private sector Assured shothold tenancies to the protocol.
Upon such, AST’s will, for Rent arrears claims, at least at present, become effectively Assured tenancies, and I’m not overly confident the situation would be reversed, post Corona.
There are limited options open to landlords, although there are some in certain circumstances.
Possession Friend are offering Free Advice to Landlords who are affected by the Possession restrictions and there is guidance on how to obtain that on our full article: Click here
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