The government has finally confirmed how repossession cases in the rental market will be handled from 20 September.
Buy-to-let landlords are now generally required to give tenants at least six months’ notice period prior to seeking possession through the courts.
However, landlords will only need to give tenants who have committed anti-social behaviour four weeks’ notice of their intention to repossess a property. Those who have committed acts of domestic violence will only need to be given two weeks’ notice.
In cases of tenant rent arrears, landlords will just be required to give four weeks’ notice where a tenant has built six months of arrears. This will ensure action can start to be taken now against tenants whose arrears had been built up before the Cocid-19 lockdown.
Last month the government said the courts would only prioritise cases where tenants were in a year or more’s worth of arrears.
The NRLA is among those that have welcomed the latest announcements, but it is warning that it will mean nothing without a cast iron guarantee that the courts will begin to hear cases on 20th September.
The landlord organisation is also disappointed that the six-month notice period will remain in cases where landlords need to regain possession of a property in order to live in it. The NRLA argues that this will continue to penalise those, such as service men and women in the military, renting their homes out whilst working away.
Last week’s announcement by the government also fails to provide the financial package of hardship loans needed to cover Covid-19 related rent arrears which are vital to sustaining tenancies.
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, commented: “The announcement provides welcome clarity about how possession cases will be handled. However, it will mean nothing without a complete guarantee that the courts will hear cases from 20th September.
“It is disappointing that the government has so far failed to heed the warnings of the NRLA and others that a financial package is needed to pay-off rent arrears built due to COVID. In the end this is the best way to sustain tenancies. We will continue to campaign hard for this important measure.”