Legal News | 22.09.20
COVID-19 Legal Update: Section 21 Notice Period Extension
On 29 August 2020 the government changed the law yet again, entitling tenants under Assured Shorthold Tenancies to receive 6 months’ notice prior to the Landlord evicting them through the courts using a Section 21 notice. Therefore any eviction notice served now will need to permit this additional time for a tenant to remain in occupation.
For eviction notices served prior to 29 August 2020, the temporary ban on Court possession claims came to an end on 20 September 2020. There is no indication from the government that the ban will be extended so Landlords are now free to commence proceedings against their tenant if they have remained in occupation beyond the eviction notice expiry date.
For Landlords wishing to start or recommence an adjourned possession claim, they must now write to the Court to inform them about a tenant’s circumstances and provide a ‘reactivation notice’ to allow the claim to be dealt with again. Failure to do this may result in the Court refusing to relist the matter.
If you have a tenant who is not paying the rent and has fallen into arrears, whether it be due to Coronavirus or not, you are permitted to serve a fault based ‘Section 8’ notice on your tenant. In ordinary times this would only require the tenant to be given 14 days’ notice before they must vacate, however, the change in the rules has increased this period up to 6 months to align with Section 21 notices.
If you have a tenant who has fallen into arrears of rent, you should first speak to your tenant to understand what their situation is. It may be the case that you can agree a temporary rent deferral to assist them, although you are not obliged to do so. If you want advice or assistance in drafting and serving an eviction notice on your tenant or working out the best way to approach the issue then we are happy to help and we act for many Landlords in this exact situation.
The law in this area is constantly changing and the new requirements means that the previous form of eviction notice is now out of date and could be invalid meaning you cannot use it in Court. You must also ensure the correct documents have been provided to the tenant before serving an eviction notice, otherwise that could invalidate the notice too.
If you would like advice and assistance on this, please email Associate Solicitor Josh Taylor who specialises in tenant evictions and acting for Landlords. Josh can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone on 01380 733300.