Notice Periods for Evicting Residential Tenants
Regulations in England have been passed which will reduce the current minimum notice periods from 6 months to 4 months for most possession notices served between the 01 June 2021 until 30 September 2021 (inclusive).
These changes come into effect on the 01 June 2021, with further changes to section 8 notice periods (on the grounds of rent arrears) coming into force on the 01 August 2021. These changes are part of a phased approach which offers protection for tenants during the continuation of the roadmap out of lockdown. Subject to public health advice and progress with the roadmap, notice periods will revert to pre-pandemic levels from the 01 October 2021.
It has also been announced that the temporary eviction ban in England will end on the 31 May 2021. From the 01 June 2021 landlords will now be able to enforce court orders for possession.
The following changes apply to England only from 01 June 2021:
The notice period for serving a section 21 notice will be reduced from the current 6 month notice to 4 months’ notice.
The prescribed Form 6A will be updated and must be used from the 01 June 2021.
The period by which possession proceedings must have been commenced following service of a s21 notice on or after 01 June 2021 will also be reduced, from 10 to 8 months from the date on which the notice was given.
The notice periods for serving a section 8 notice are more complex. The general rule is that where the current notice period was 6 months, this has been reduced to 4 months.
The existing exceptions for notices served on the grounds of anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse and false statements remain the same.
However, there are changes which apply where the grounds relate to rent arrears, the death of a tenant or there is a breach of the immigration rules ‘Right to Rent’.
1. Rent Arrears:
a) If at least 4 months’ rent is unpaid, landlords will have to give at least 4 weeks’ notice (‘Serious rent arrears’);
b) Where less than 4 months’ rent is owing (‘Non-serious rent arrears’), landlords will have to give at least 4 months’ notice from the 01 June 2021 until 31 July 2021 inclusive; and
c) Where less than 4 months’ rent is owing (‘Non-serious rent arrears’), landlords will have to give at least 2 months’ notice from and including the 01 August 2021.
2. Death of a Tenant:
If a landlord is wanting to serve a section 8 notice using ground 7 of Schedule 2 to the 1988 Housing Act (death of tenant), the landlord must give at least 2 months’ notice.
3. Right to Rent:
If a landlord is wanting to serve a section 8 notice using ground 7b (immigration status of tenant) (England only), the landlord must give at least 2 weeks’ notice.
A new prescribed form for section 8 notices will be made available and must be used from the 01 June 2021 (this comes less than two weeks after a new one had just been published dealing with the breathing space regulations).
Landlords who wish to serve an eviction notice now should consider waiting to serve it after the 01 June 2021 to benefit from the reduced notice period. For those landlords who have recently served an eviction notice, they can also consider serving it again (with the new prescribed form after 01 June 2021) to benefit from the reduced notice period.
The following property templates will be updated: Guidance on Section 8 and Section 21 Notices, Guidance Notes: Obtaining Possession of Residential Property , Section 8 Notice Seeking Possession (England) and Section 21 Notice Seeking Possession (Form 6A) (England). These updated templates will be available from the 01 June 2021, when the changes come into force.
The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.