Covid-19: notice periods under residential tenancies to be reduced
13 May 2021
On 12 May 2021 the Government released a press release confirming that, subject to progress with the Government's roadmap out of lockdown, over the next few months the notice period landlords are required to give tenants will gradually be reduced. In addition, the current ban on evictions will be lifted after 31 May 2021.
The current notice period landlords are required to give is, in the vast majority of cases, six months, including in respect of notices under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. The forthcoming reduction in the notice period landlords are required to give will be carried out in a phased approach. Initially the notice period will be set at four months, taking effect from 1 June 2021. This will then be reduced further on 1 October 2021 to pre-pandemic levels. This means that from 1 October 2021 a notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 will only need to give two months' notice and a notice under section 8 (relying on grounds 8, 10 and/or 11) will only need to give two weeks' notice.
The Government has released two new forms (Form 3 – a notice seeking possession of a property let under an assured tenancy or an assured agricultural occupancy and Form 6A – a notice seeking possession of a property let on an assured shorthold tenancy). Form 6A of course is the prescribed form which is more commonly known as the section 21 notice. You can find copies here.
These forms take effect from 1 June 2021.
At present bailiffs are not able to carry out evictions (pursuant to The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction) (England) (No.2) (Amendment) Regulations 2021). The Government has confirmed however that these regulations will now be relaxed from 1 June 2021. We wait to see the form of any further regulation made but the Government has suggested that evictions will not take place where the occupiers are self-isolating or exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19.
It appears the path out of the restrictions imposed by Covid-19 legislation has been set. However, there is still likely to be a significant backlog of cases and evictions. It is unlikely that things will return to normal very quickly.
Longer-term changes are also likely to occur in the near future. In this regard the Government has announced proposals to abolish section 21 'no fault' evictions and to introduce a new lifetime deposit which will enable renters to move house quickly and easily.
If you have any queries or questions regarding the above, or about possession proceedings generally, please contact Michael Ellis, Alexandra Sollohub or Emily Thorp or complete the form below and one of the team will get back to you.