Renting in Pandemic: Section 21 Update
I originally wrote a blog post about renting in a pandemic in October 2020. I highlighted the changes surrounding the law on serving a Section 21 notice and the effect of the Coronavirus Act. I explained how it was important to know your rights as both a tenant and a landlord and how these rights were ever-changing. Most of the changes I mentioned in the blog post were due to end in Autumn of 2020. But as the pandemic continued and people’s lives were largely still affected the law was continually updated.
Section 21 Notice
To recap and update a Section 21 Notice is used by landlords to evict their tenants either after a fixed term tenancy ends (if there's a written contract) or during a tenancy with no fixed end date (known as a 'periodic' tenancy, which can either be statutory or agreed between the landlord and the tenant).
Update on Serving a Notice
As previously mentioned, the notice period for all notices served after 26 March 2020 was extended from 2 months to 3 months. However, a set of Coronavirus regulations have since increased the notice period to 6 months. Currently, these regulations will have effect until 31 May 2021 and it should be noted that the updated regulations are not retrospective and therefore do not apply to notices served before 29 August 2021.
Update on Possession Proceedings
The regulations also extended the period in which possession proceedings must be commenced. The extension means that a landlord has 10 months from the date on which the notice was served to file a possession claim. After this date the notice is deemed expired and a landlord must re-serve a new notice on the tenant. Further, it is still required that a landlord submits evidence along with their claim explaining how the pandemic has affected them and/ or the tenant.
Update on Enforcement
A landlord cannot evict a tenant without a court order, if the tenant has still not left the property after serving the relevant notice. It may be the case that even with an order the tenant is unwilling to vacate the property. In these cases, a bailiff or enforcement agency are often instructed to enforce the order. The latest regulations prevent attendance at a dwelling for the purpose of executing a writ or warrant of possession or serving an eviction notice. The regulations will apply until 31 May 2021.
It can be difficult to keep up with ever-changing law so if you wish to speak to a member of our Litigation team about your rights as a landlord or a tenant please do get in touch and we would be happy to assist,
Similarly, if you are a landlord or tenant seeking non-contentious advice please do get in touch with our Residential or Commercial team.