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Landlord and Tenant

Latest New Rules On Eviction/Forfeiture, Rent Arrears8th Sep 2020

by Eric Holt on 8th Sep 2020

Contact Eric Holt

Updated: 18 June 2021

End Of The Moratorium On Section 8 And 21 Notices

There is finally light at the end of the tunnel for landlords who need to evict residential tenants: the moratorium is coming to an end. But commercial evictions are banned until 25 March 2022.

You can still issue proceedings but the courts are progressing matters much slower than they were before the pandemic. 

Last year the government extended the legal notice period for Section 8 and Section 21 notices:

  • Notice given on or after 29 August 2020 – minimum six months’ notice
  • Notice given 26 March 2020 to 28 August 2020 – three months
  • Notice given before 26 March 2020 – two months.

The new rules apply to all but the most serious cases.

From June 1 2021, the notice period will be reduced to four months. The government plans to reduce minimum notice periods to their pre-Covid lengths from October 1 2021 (subject to public health advice and the continuing reduction in infection levels). 

Shorter Section 8 Notice Periods For Serious Cases

Landlords can give shorter notice for Section 8 evictions in the following cases:

  • offences committed at a riot; acquiring the tenancy with a false statement (two to four weeks’ notice)
  • anti-social behaviour (four weeks’ notice)
  • domestic abuse (two to four weeks’ notice)
  • false statement (two to four weeks’ notice)
  • over four months’ accumulated rent arrears (four weeks’ notice)
  • breach of immigration rules – tenant has failed the ‘Right to Rent’ check (two weeks' notice).

From August 1 2021, the notice periods are now:

  • four months if rent arrears are less than four months in total at the time the notice is served
  • four weeks if rent arrears are more than four months in total at the time the notice is served.

Section 21 Time Limits

After 29 August 2020, landlords were required to give assured shorthold tenants at least six months’ notice for Section 21 notices under the Housing Act 1988. However, since 1 June 2021, the notice period has been reduced to four months.

You must also use the updated form 6A which reflects the new time periods:

  • four-month minimum notice period
  • the notice is valid for eight months from date of issue.

Important note for landlords: if you have already issued Section 21 notices, please be aware that the period in which you can issue a court claim is being continually revised. You must ensure you do not miss a deadline.

New Rules On Covid-19 Information

From September 20 2020, landlords’ eviction claims must include information about the effects of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Fail to provide the correct information and you risk the judge adjourning proceedings.

New Voluntary Code Of Practice For Commercial Property

The government’s new (and long-awaited) code of practice for commercial property encourages tenants and landlords to work together in these troubled times.

The code is designed to help landlords and tenants to map out a recovery plan during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

It is endorsed by leading organisations including British Chambers of Commerce, the British Property Federation, the British Retail Consortium, the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors and UKHospitality.

If You Owe (Or Are Owed) Rent

The legal position on rent arrears remains the same: tenants (and guarantors) are still liable to pay rent in full – unless this is renegotiated by agreement with their landlords.

Tenants who are unable to pay their rent in full should seek an agreement with their landlord to pay what they can (taking into account the principles of the new voluntary code).

But there is nothing stopping landlords from issuing County Court money claims against tenants now. These claims may include interest and costs.

Find out more here about:

Get Expert Legal Advice On Litigation

Struggling to recover rent arrears? Get more information on your legal rights as a landlord. Contact Coles Miller debt recovery manager Eric Holt.

Contact Coles Miller commercial litigation solicitor Dion McCarthy for expert legal advice on business property disputes, rent arrears and forfeiture.

This document is not intended to constitute and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice on any specific matter. No liability for the accuracy of the content of this document, or the consequences of relying on it, is assumed by the author. If you seek further information, please contact Managing Partner Neil Andrews at Coles Miller Solicitors LLP.