Coronavirus (COVID-19): Announcement to Clients

Landlord and Tenant

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

by Eric Holt on 8th Sep 2020

Contact Eric Holt

Updated: March 11 2021

Longer Periods For Section 8 And 21 Notices

Landlords face yet another extension on the ban to stop them from using bailiffs to evict tenants quickly.

Bailiffs will not be able to visit residential properties until May 2021. Commercial evictions are banned until June 30 2021.

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.

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 (now two to four weeks’ notice)
  • anti-social behaviour (now four weeks’ notice)
  • domestic abuse (now two to four weeks’ notice)
  • false statement (now two to four weeks’ notice)
  • over six months’ accumulated rent arrears (now four weeks’ notice)
  • breach of immigration rules – tenant has failed the ‘Right to Rent’ check (now three months’ notice).

Section 21 Time Limits

Landlords now (from 29 August 2020) must give assured shorthold tenants at least six months’ notice for Section 21 notices under the Housing Act 1988.

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

  • six-month minimum notice period
  • the notice is valid for 10 months from date of issue.

New Rules On Covid-19 Information

From September 20, 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.