Changes to evictions ban
After 7 months, the ban on evictions imposed following the second national lockdown in November 2020 has been lifted with effect from 1st June. Whilst some limited exceptions applied so that certain evictions could still take place during this period, predominately in cases of substantial rent arrears and anti-social behaviour, the ban prevented landlords from recovering possession of their properties in the vast majority of cases, including where an order for possession had been made on the ‘non-fault’ ground in Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.
However, landlords can now proceed and enforce a possession order obtained on any grounds, either through the County Court Bailiffs or High Court Enforcement Officers.
There is also now a 14-day notice requirement before an eviction can take place. Therefore, no evictions are expected to take place before at least mid-June, except in the most serious of cases. Unsurprisingly, evictions will not take place where anyone living in the property has COVID-19 symptoms or is self-isolating.
Shortened notice periods
Also taking effect from 1st June, are shortened notice periods. Possession notice periods have not yet reverted back to the pre-COVID periods prescribed by the Housing Act 1988, but landlords should still welcome this change.
In most cases, notice periods are reduced from the existing 6 months to 4 months, in some cases shorter. For example, where there are at least 4 months’ rent arrears (reduced from the existing 6 months), the notice period is 4 weeks for a Section 8 Notice served on grounds 8, 10 or 11. Where the arrears are less than 4 months, a 4-month notice must be given although from 01 August 2021 that period will reduce to 2 months.
Notice periods are expected revert to the pre-25 March 2020 position with effect from 01 October 2021, subject to public health advice at that time.
If you have any questions about evictions or notice periods, please contact a member of the Pace team on 01702 445600 who will be happy to discuss your situation.