Latest Changes to Landlord and Tenant Notice Provisions

The area of Landlord & Tenant law is constantly changing, it is also an area which has been subject to significant changes as a result of Covid-19.

On 12 May the Government announced further changes to notice periods along with new Section 21 and Section 8 forms to be used from 1 June 2021. The changes are to be a staged approach with further changes coming in from 1 August 2021 and with the intention that notice periods will return to pre-pandemic levels from 1 October 2021.

Bailiff Enforcement

The current suspension on residential evictions will end on 31 May 2021. The suspension was introduced as an emergency measure to place a hold on evictions during lockdown and provide protection for Bailiffs entering homes. This is welcome news for many Landlords, however it is likely that there will be a considerable backlog of possession orders to enforce, with some dating back to March 2020. The legislation also confirms that evictions should not take place if anyone living in the property has Covid-19 symptoms or is in self-isolation, however it is unclear how this will be dealt with in practice.

Notice Periods

The following amended notice periods only apply to notices served after 1 June 2021.

From 1 June 2021, the basic notice period for seeking possession of residential tenancies which is currently 6 months will be reduced to 4 months. However the notice period may be lower if an exception applies.

For example, where a landlord relies on the grounds of serious rent arrears, notice remains at 4 weeks, however the amount of rent arrears will be reduced from 6 months or more to 4 months or more at the time the notice is served.

For other serious cases the following notices apply:

  • Antisocial behaviour (immediate to 4 weeks’ notice)
  • Domestic abuse in the social sector (2 to 4 weeks’ notice)
  • False statement (2 to 4 weeks’ notice)
  • Breach of immigration rules ‘Right to Rent’ (2 weeks’ notice)
  • Death of a tenant (2 months’ notice)

In light of these reduced notice periods, from 1 June 2021 the time in which the landlord can start possession proceedings after the service of a Section 21 notice will be reduced from ten months to eight months. However, this only applies to notices served after 1 June 2021.

From 1 August 2021, where the landlord seeks to rely on non-serious rent arrears, i.e. less than four months at the time notice is served, notice is reduced to two months. (This only applies to notice served after 1 August 2021).

New Prescribed Forms

The announcement also confirmed that new prescribed forms are to be introduced for both Section 8 (Form 3) and Section 21 (Form 6A) notices from 1 June 2021, reflecting the amended notice periods.

If you need advice relating to either Section 8 or Section 21 Notices or the best way to gain possession of your property please email Katie Jones or Josh Millichamp or call the team on 0800 118 1500 to find out how we can help you today.