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COVID-19 Update for Residential Landlords & Tenants – New Six Month Notice Period

September 2020

From 29 August 2020, residential landlords must give at least 6 months’ notice when seeking possession under s.83 of the Housing Act 1985; s.8 and s.21 of the Housing Act 1988; and against tenants with accumulated rent arrears of less than 6 months’ rent.

s.8 and s.21 notices can be served in the usual way, subject to the following considerations:

  1. Extended validity of s.21 Notices 

A validly served s.21 notice served with at least 6 months’ notice will now remain valid for an extended period of:

  • 10 months from the date set out in the notice if s.21(4D) applies; or
  • 4 months from the date set out in the notice after which possession is required, if s.21(4E) applies.

2. The Exemptions 

The following “serious cases” permit a shorter notice period:  

4 weeks’ notice:

  • For tenants with anti-social behaviour where there is a periodic tenancy and 1 month’s period for a fixed term tenancy
  • For accumulated rent arrears’ of over 6 months’ rent 

Note to tenants – this applies to the accumulated rent arrears’ sum not the time elapsed. If the outstanding rent arrears amount to the value of 6 months’ rent, the exemption will apply even if 6 months have not passed. Tenants are advised not to rely on this exemption unless there is an identifiable impact of COVID-19 on their ability to pay rent – the Court will consider this impact during any later proceedings. 

2- 4 weeks’ notice

  • In cases of domestic violence only if the it is a social tenancy and the victim has permanently left the property 
  • False statements made knowingly or recklessly by the tenant or someone acting on behalf of tenant which had a direct bearing on the landlord’s decision to grant the tenancy 

3 months’ notice 

  • if the tenant is in breach of immigration rules i.e. ‘Right to Rent’ 

This new rule is not retrospective and notices served on and before 28 August 2020 remain unaffected, with landlords required to provide at least 3 months’ notice in such cases.

Next Steps

Once the Courts resume eviction hearings and the ban is lifted, the most serious cases will be prioritised. 

We will continue to monitor the legislation on this matter to obtain clarity for our clients. Please do get in touch if you have any questions.