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More landlords falling foul of Covid deadlines on possessions

A law practice claims to have seen increasing numbers of landlords falling foul of revised possession deadlines.

Newport-based Bellavia & Associates says the law in relation to the possession of residential property is not straightforward in ordinary times, and it has become a veritable minefield since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

It says the notice periods for both Section 8 and Section 21 possessions have been extended by temporary Covid legislation, and it has seen growing numbers of landlords in Wales getting them wrong. 

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The consequences of getting the notice wrong, or issuing a notice when there is a statutory impediment, are serious, with the possibility of significant delay being caused before possession of the property can be sought.

James Subbiani, senior associate solicitor at Bellavia & Associates, says: “Recently we have seen invalidly issued Section 21 notices by landlords, which, because the of the Covid amendments, are six-month notices. The errors only becoming apparent when we have been instructed to commence possession proceedings. The result has been the landlord having to remedy the problem and re-issue a new six-month notice.”

Section 21 notices cannot be issued if the details recorded by Rent Smart Wales for the tenancy are incorrect or if the tenant’s deposit has not been properly placed with the tenant’s Deposit Protection Scheme.

Once proceedings are issued, the court process has also been amended by the Covid legislation.

For example, a notice explaining what knowledge the landlord has of the impact of Covid upon the tenant and their family must be filed with the claim form. Failure to file the notice results in a delay to the proceedings.

Subbiani continues: “Given the pitfalls and hazards in relation to recovering possession of residential property we strongly recommend that landlords and agents take early advice, preferably before issuing the Section 8 or Section 21 notice.”

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    As are many solicitors too!
    These days any notice and subsequent possession application needs to micro-managed from the outset. Regulation, compliance and evidence of such are all designed to make life as difficult as possible for landlords. One 't' only half crossed will see an application fail.

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