Possession notice periods return to pre-Covid rules

Wed 29th Sep 2021

Megan Trethowan, Paralegal in Coodes Solicitors’ Personal Disputes team, outlines what landlords and tenants need to know about changes to possession notice periods on domestic rental properties.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, the Government introduced emergency regulations to protect tenants from being evicted from their homes. These regulations changed possession notice periods and rules on evictions. The aim was to provide tenants with security at a time when many people were affected by a reduction in income and were also restricted from moving because of lockdown rules.

Some of these temporary changes come to an end on 1 October 2021 when possession notice periods will return to pre-Covid timescales.

Emergency regulations during the pandemic

The Coronavirus Act 2020, which was introduced in March 2020, set out emergency regulations aimed at protecting tenants, including extending possession notice periods. The rules were updated a number of times over the following months.

Notice periods for section 21 notices, were extended from two months to four and then later to six months.

Section 8 notices have differing timeframes, ranging from range two weeks to four months, depending on the reason for the eviction. Under the emergency regulations, these different notice periods were lengthened to between four weeks and six months.

While exemptions applied for the most serious cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour, many landlords chose to put their plans to repossess properties on hold.

Changes from 1 October 2021

The changes made under the Coronavirus Act were never intended to be permanent. Therefore, from 1 October eviction notice periods will return to pre-Covid rules. This means that section 21 notices will, once again, be subject to a two-month notice period. Section 8 notices will be between two weeks and four months, as before.

However, up to 25 March 2022, the Government can re-instate longer notice periods, should they feel this is needed. This is to provide some protection should they need to introduce more social distancing measures during the pandemic.

The reintroduction of previous notice periods will make it much easier and quicker for landlords to repossess properties.

What the new possession notice periods mean for landlords

We are aware that many landlords made the decision not to pursue property possessions while the emergency regulations were in place. Now that shorter timeframes have been reinstated, we are expecting a significant increase in the number of landlords serving both section 21 and section 8 notices. This means that the courts are likely to be very busy.

It is vital for landlords to ensure they have met all the necessary legal obligations before serving notice.

Our Personal Disputes team at Coodes works with landlords and tenants, advising them on their rights and obligations. If you are a landlord, we can advise you on everything you need to do to serve a possession notice.

For further information or advice please contact Megan Trethowan in Coodes Solicitors’ Personal Disputes team on 01736 352240 or megan.trethowan@coodes.co.uk.

Wed 29th Sep 2021

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