Buy-to-let landlords must now provide tenants with at least six months’ notice period prior to seeking possession through the courts in most cases, including section 21 evictions and rent arrears under six months.
Legislation relating to the new temporary notice period in England was introduced on Saturday 29 August, and will remain in place until at least 31 March 2021, except in the most serious of cases, such as incidents of anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse perpetrators.
The package of support for renters includes the extension of notice periods and the extension to the stay on possession proceedings. But there will be help for 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.
Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, commented: “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 six month notice period until March 2021.
“No tenant will have been legally evicted for six 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.”