As of 29th August 2020, The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 (“the Act”) came into force in England. The Act extends notice periods in possession proceedings cases and also serves to stay Court proceedings in most cases until 20th September 2020.
Section 21 notices
A six month notice period for Section 21 now applies in all cases until at least 31st March 2021. Landlords then have ten months from service of the notice to issue possession proceedings at Court.
For most grounds the notice period has also been changed to six months until 31st March 2021.
However, if rent arrears are over six months the notice period for ground 8, 10 and 11 (those relating to arrears) is four weeks. If arrears are below six months then the notice period remains six months.
Shorter notice periods will also apply in cases of domestic abuse or anti-social behaviour.
Any notice deemed served on 28th August 2020 or before will be considered valid if a three month notice was served. Any deemed served after 28th August 2020 without the new notice period will not be valid and must be re-served in light of these regulations.
Once the stay has been lifted, landlords must now also serve a ‘reactivation notice’ confirming that they wish their case to be listed, relisted, heard or referred.
A prescribed form has not yet been produced but landlords will need to obtain details of the impact of Covid-19 upon tenants, this being a necessary requirement within the notice.
A rent schedule covering the last two years also needs to be filed. Once the notice has been served, the Court must provide at least 21 days notice of any hearing.
Welsh notice periods have been extended to six months from 23rd July 2020 for both S.21 and S.8 evictions, except on grounds of anti-social behaviour in which case it is three months.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Scottish Parliament has passed emergency legislation to prevent people becoming homeless due to financial hardship. The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 provides a temporary extension to the notice period before a Landlord can apply for an eviction order depending on the ground used. The new law applies in cases where a landlord serves notice on their tenant on or after 7th April 2020.
The minimum notice period before a Landlord can evict a tenant has been extended to six months (for rent arrears). Previously, the notice period was three months and was mandatory, but now all grounds to evict tenants in the private rental sector are discretionary. If the Landlord is ending the tenancy for particular reasons, including anti-social and criminal behaviour by the tenant or where the landlord or their family need to move into the property, then the notice period is three months.
The new eviction provisions will expire on 30th September 2020 although the Scottish Government may extend this date until 31st March 2021, or even until 30th September 2021, if required. The Scottish Ministers can also suspend the legislation in whole or in part at any time.