Additional Protections Announced for Renters as Lockdown Restrictions Ease

WR Solicitor & Director Jonathan Leach

With the UK progressing on its roadmap out of COVID-19 lockdown, the current emergency measures in place to protect tenants financially impacted as a result of the pandemic are soon due to come to a close.

This will undoubtedly be of concern to many, who may still be feeling the effects given severe restrictions are still in place in many industry sectors such as aviation, events and hospitality.

As such, yesterday’s announcement by Housing Minister Christopher Pincher detailing extensions to the support will be welcome news to many. Here is a summary of the support announced: –

Notice Periods

Under the current emergency measures, notice periods landlords must provide when they wish a tenant to vacate a property are set as standard at 6 months.

As of 1st June, this will not be maintained, but reduced to 4 months as part of a phased return to normality. If the roadmap proceeds as scheduled, the intention is for notice periods to return to pre-COVID levels as of 1st October.

Exceptions

There are some exceptions to the current 6 month notice period, which will remain in place in their current format beyond 31st May. These cover the most serious cases and are in place to protect landlords from particularly strenuous circumstances. They are as follows: –

  • anti-social behaviour (immediate to 4 weeks’ notice)
  • domestic abuse in the social sector (2 to 4 weeks’ notice)
  • false statement (2 to 4 weeks’ notice)
  • over 4 months’ accumulated rent arrears (4 weeks’ notice)
  • breach of immigration rules ‘Right to Rent’ (2 weeks’ notice)
  • death of a tenant (2 months’ notice)

The notice period for cases where there is over 4 months of unpaid rent will increase to 2 months. This is to support both landlords and tenants given the otherwise large difference in the emergency measures and the pre-COVID notice period for rent arrears.

Again, if the roadmap proceeds as scheduled, the intention is for notice periods to return to pre-COVID levels as of 1st October.

Bailiff Evictions

Under the emergency measures, bailiff evictions are currently banned. #

These will recommence as of 1st June, however 14 days’ notice is required before an eviction can take place and therefore no evictions are expected to take place before mid-June except in the most serious circumstances.

Bailiffs have also been asked not to progress with an eviction if anyone living in the property has COVID-19 or is self-isolating.

Courts

It is anticipated there will be an increase on the already significant pressure the court system is facing as the restrictions ease. Whilst the additional protections detailed above will ease this somewhat, priority within the courts will continue to be given to the most serious cases, and there could be lengthy delays on attaining enforcement orders once notice periods have passed.

If you need advice regarding your rights as either a landlord or tenant amidst the changing legislation, our team of experts will be able to help.

Call Jonathan on 01254 30 10 44, email enquiries@watsonramsbottom.com, talk to us via live chat or complete our online enquiry form and one of our experts will contact you.

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