Residential evictions notice period reduced again
7th June 2021 by Byron Sims
Once again, the eviction notice periods under section 21 and section 8 have changed. However, for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic swept across the county, this may actually be a welcome change for landlords and letting agents.
What were the previous changes?
When the extent of the pandemic became clear, most residential possession proceedings (i.e. evictions) were prevented to a certain degree. This included repeatedly increasing the notice periods that landlords had to provide to tenants, pausing all claims in court and even prohibiting bailiffs from carrying out evictions.
From 1 June 2021, the notice required to be given under section 21, the so-called “no fault” eviction process, is reduced from six to four months.
The same applies to certain notices under section 8 (generally those concerning on rent arrears). Further, if a tenant is in arrears of rent by four months’ or more, this will qualify as “extreme rent arrears”, which means the landlord has to give only four weeks’ notice.
Under section 8 the notice periods vary considerably depending on the ground, but these have generally been reduced.
What if I have already served a notice?
Unfortunately, this will not change the notice period for notices already served. It may be possible to serve a new notice, though this may not substantially bring forward a court case and could complicate matters, so you should take specific advice if considering this action.
Can I now enforce an order for possession?
Yes, bailiffs are now permitted to carry out evictions, though still subject to certain conditions (such as people self-isolating or suffering from symptoms of Covid 19). It is likely that bailiffs will be under pressure to clear what in many areas may be a significant backlog.
Are we back to normal then?
Not quite. The notice periods are still considerably longer than they were pre-pandemic. It is expected that notice periods will return to the pre-covid levels from 1 October 2021, subject of course to public health advice at the time.
Any other significant changes?
Possibly, though not quite yet. Regardless of when the notice periods return to normal, if they ever do, it seems increasingly likely that “no fault” evictions under section 21 will be done away with entirely. With that in mind, it is probably best not to wait, as the possibility of using the section 21 process may one day be gone entirely.
If you or your business needs any assistance navigating the fast changing process of recovering possession of residential property, please contact our team today and we will be happy to help.