On 12th May, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government published a press release which has confirmed that:
- That there will be four-month notice periods for most tenants of residential properties until at least October 2021; and
- That the current, temporary ban on bailiffs enforcing evictions will be lifted from the beginning of next month.
These changes are a result of the national Covid-19 restrictions being eased.
The changes in respect of notice periods, which were previously extended to six months as an emergency Covid-19 measure but have now been reduced to four months, will come into effect on 1st June. Subject to the public health advice and progress with the UK’s roadmap, notice periods will return to normal from 1st October. It is hoped that this measure will provide tenants with continued protection throughout steps three and four of the roadmap.
Notice periods for more serious cases that present the most difficulties for landlords will remain lower. These are as follows:
- Anti-social behaviour – immediate to four weeks’ notice
- Domestic abuse in the social sector – two to four weeks’ notice
- False statement – two to four weeks’ notice
- Four months or more accumulated rent arrears – four weeks’ notice
- Breach of immigration rules ‘Right to Rent’ – two weeks’ notice
- Death of a tenant – two months’ notice
With regards to the ban on bailiff-enforced evictions being lifted, as stated above, this will end on 31st May, although bailiffs have been told not to carry out evictions if anyone living at a property has Covid-19 symptoms or is having to self-isolate.
The Housing Minister, Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP, said:
“From the beginning of the pandemic, we have taken unprecedented action to protect renters and help keep them in their homes.
“As COVID restrictions are eased in line with the Roadmap out of lockdown, we will ensure tenants continue to be supported with longer notice periods, while also balancing the need for landlords to access justice.
“Crucial financial support also remains in place including the furlough scheme and uplift to Universal Credit.”
There have been mixed reactions to the announcement, with a number of people commenting that the Government have not yet addressed the current rent debt crisis caused by the pandemic. The Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), Ben Beadle, said:
“Having operated under emergency conditions for over a year, today’s announcement from the Government is an important step in ensuring the sector’s recovery.
“It does nothing though to address the rent debt crisis. With the number of private tenants in arrears having increased threefold since lockdown measures started, more are at risk of losing their homes as restrictions ease. We want to see tenancies sustained wherever possible and call on the Chancellor to step in and provide affected tenants with the financial support they need to pay off rent arrears built as a result of the pandemic.”
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