Government changed law so most renters have 6 month notice period

by Property118.com News Team

17:53 PM, 28th August 2020
About 8 months ago

Government changed law so most renters have 6 month notice period

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Government changed law so most renters have 6 month notice period

Legislation has now been introduced, so landlords must now give tenants 6 months’ notice before they can evict until March 2021, except in the most serious of cases, such as incidents of anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse perpetrators.

The stay on possession proceedings has been extended until 20 September, meaning that in total no tenant can have been legally evicted for 6 months at the height of the pandemic.

The package of support for renters includes the extension of notice periods and the extension to the stay on possession proceedings. For the most egregious cases, notice periods have returned to their pre-coronavirus levels, and landlords will be able to progress serious rent arrears cases more quickly.

These changes mean that from 29 August, landlords must provide at least 6 months’ notice period prior to seeking possession through the courts in most cases, including  section 21 evictions and rent arrears under 6 months.

Notices served on and before 28 August are not affected by these changes, and must be at least 3 months.

The government is also helping landlords affected by the worst cases to seek possession; these are:

  • anti-social behaviour (now 4 weeks’ notice)
  • domestic abuse (now 2 to 4 weeks’ notice)
  • false statement (now 2 to 4 weeks’ notice)
  • over 6 months’ accumulated rent arrears (now 4 weeks’ notice)
  • breach of immigration rules ‘Right to Rent’ (now 3 months’ notice)

In addition, new court rules have been agreed, which will come into force on 20 September meaning landlords will need to set out in their claim any relevant information about a tenant’s circumstances, including information on the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. Where this information is not provided, judges will have the ability to adjourn proceedings.

Secretary of State for Housing, Robert Jenrick said: “We have developed a package of support for renters to ensure they continue to be protected over winter. I have changed the law so that renters are protected by a 6 month notice period until March 2021.

“No tenant will have been legally evicted for 6 months at the height of the pandemic as the stay on possession proceedings has been extended until 20 September. For the most egregious cases, for example those involving anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse perpetrators, notice periods have returned to their normal level, and landlords will be able to progress serious rent arrears cases more quickly.

“These changes will support landlords to progress the priority cases while keeping the public safe over winter.  We will keep these measures under review and decisions will continue to be guided by the latest public health advice.”

The new legislation applies to both the private and social rented sectors in England, and to all new notices in relation to assured, assured shorthold, secure, flexible, introductory and demoted tenancies and those under the Rent Act 1977, but not to any notices issued before the legislation comes into force.

Courts will carefully prioritise the most egregious cases, including anti-social behaviour, fraud, and domestic abuse, ensuring landlords are able to progress the most serious cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour and other crimes.

Further information

If a landlord made a claim to the court before 3 August, they must notify the Court and their tenant that they still intend to seek repossession before the case will proceed, including in section 21 cases.

More detailed guidance on using the courts and the new arrangements will be made available in advance of possession proceedings starting again.

We are conscious of the pressure on landlords during this difficult time and do not want to exacerbate this.  Of course, it is important that tenants who are able to do so must continue to pay their rent.

The government has put in place an unprecedented support package to support tenants to pay their living costs, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, £9.3 billion of additional support through the welfare system, and increasing the Local Housing Allowance rate to the 30th percentile.

We are committed to bringing forward the Renters Reform Bill to abolish section 21 and deliver a fairer and more effective rented sector in due course. However, such legislation must balance greater security of tenure with an assurance that landlords are able to recover their properties where they have valid reasons to do so.

We have been working closely with the judiciary through a Master of the Rolls led Working Group to finalise the arrangements on the prioritisation of cases, for when the stay on possession proceedings lifts from 20 September.

29 August, landlords must provide at least 6 months’ notice period prior to seeking possession through the courts in most cases, including  section 21 evictions and rent arrears under 6 months. We have also extended the validity of a section 21 notice from 6 to 10 months to accommodate this change.

Comments

dismayed landlord

11:42 AM, 4th September 2020
About 8 months ago

''over 6 months’ accumulated rent arrears (now 4 weeks’ notice)'' from the above article.
Can we have further information on this please? Does this mean tnts have to be six months in arrears as in 6 x the monthly figure? or just have rent arrears going back further than 6 months.
In both cases does this mean that the government can change the tenancy agreement at the stroke (several strokes) of all existing tenancy agreements from 2 months notice to 4 weeks?
If so what is the implication for the Government to change any other conditions of a tenancy agreement by similar legislation without consultation and notification?
As you know i am an advocate of selling up asap. Unfortunately six months notice periods and the previous restrictions are locking me into a 'business' (actually I am considered a Private Landlord) I no longer wish to be a part of.
I have tenant wo ACCRUED rent arrears before lockdown and the furloughed scheme. Was being considerate as I know their circumstances. Kicked myself for being so when the furloughed scheme started thinking there goes the rent. However since they have been furloughed the full months rent has been paid (nothing off the last 18 months arrears of course) whilst on 80% of their income. They returned to work last week. So in theory if they could pay full months rent on 80% of salary then they now have enough to clear some of the arrears? I'll let you know. But already (as you realise) that working at 100% salary they incurred rent arrears. At 80% they paid in full. I wonder where the money went before lockdown?

Seething Landlord

12:51 PM, 4th September 2020
About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by dismayed landlord at 04/09/2020 - 11:42
Surely any money that you have received should be applied first of all to reducing the accumulated arrears as was done in the tribunal case discussed a few weeks ago on this forum where the principle worked to the clear benefit of the landlord? - see
https://www.property118.com/rent-repayment-order-magic-money-tree-is-pretty-much-dead/

dismayed landlord

17:26 PM, 4th September 2020
About 8 months ago

RE: Seething Landlord,

yes I agree. In normal circumstances I would and have done in the past. However what was seeking advice on was, if the 4 weeks period of notice (on arrears before C-19) is now Boris (government) backed (legally changed) then can I apply for a 4 week notice period to get them out.
If the arrears are C- 19 related then I am looking at a 6 month notice period (I think - though its all getting too complex) and lots of additional legal hoops to jump through. Mediation and how the C-19 has affected them.??
These tenants arrears are not c - 19 related. They were accrued before they went into furlough. (since April 2019 - i have been trying to work with them before the idea was made a new invention) My point was they appear more able and committed to pay their full rent on 80% of their salaries than they were on 100%. It would appear on the face of it that C-19 furloughed scheme is beneficial to them - they are implying they are better off on 80% of their salaries so are (were) able to now (till last month) pay the months rent in full.
Now they have returned to full time work I would expect them to have free cash to pay off the arrears. At least 10% extra allowing for NI and tax. Yet their past performance indicates that on full salary they cannot pay full rent. ??????

Seething Landlord

1:54 AM, 5th September 2020
About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by dismayed landlord at 04/09/2020 - 17:26
You sound somewhat confused and perhaps we all are at the moment.
I think you will find that the notice periods are the length of warning that you have to give to the tenant of your intention to commence possession proceedings whether under section 8 or section 21.
For section 8 based on rent arrears you have to give 4 weeks notice if the accumulated arrears at the time that you give notice amount to 6 months rent or more, otherwise you have to give 6 month's notice. If you only give 4 weeks notice when you should have given 6 months you will find that your claim is thrown out by the court and you will have to start all over again. For section 21 you have to give 6 month's notice regardless of the underlying reasons.
That is my understanding of the current situation but the rules seem to be in a constant state of flux and could change again at any time. Whatever you do you need to make sure that you get it right so you might think it appropriate to seek professional advice before committing yourself to a particular course of action.

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