In these unprecedented times, the government has taken emergency measures to support tenants. This means the eviction process will be prolonged. The government has introduced new legislation which means that from 29 August 2020 landlords must provide 6 months’ notice prior to seeking possession through the courts in most cases, including Section 21 notice and rent arrears under 6 months. The government has also extended the validity of Section 21 notice from 6 months to 10 months in order to accommodate this change.
However, in more serious cases, such as incidents of antisocial behaviour; domestic abuse; false statement; breach of immigration rules (Right to Rent) and rent arrears over 6 months, landlords will be able to progress matters much quicker.
Notices which were served on or before 28 August 2020, are not affected by these changes. The government has also extended the stay on possession proceedings until 20 September 2020.
In addition, the government will be introducing new rules which come into force on 20 September 2020. These new rules will mean that in order to bring a possession claim the landlord must set out within their claim all relevant information surrounding the tenant’s circumstances, including the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic. If this information is not provided the landlord runs the risk of the judge adjourning proceedings.
The purpose of the new changes is to ensure tenants are protected from eviction over the winter period (protection from eviction until March 2021 should a notice be served from 29 August 2020), whilst supporting landlords by prioritising the most egregious cases and keeping the public safe. It is, however, critical to note for tenants that despite these difficult times the government has made it clear that tenants who are able must continue to pay their rent.
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