Coronavirus Act 2020 – How it affects landlords seeking possession of residential property

From 26 March 2020 until 30 September 2020 inclusive a landlord wishing to serve a section 8 notice on their tenant for non-payment of rent must now give a minimum of 3 months’ notice instead of 2 weeks. Similarly a landlord wishing to serve a section 21 notice on their tenant must now give a minimum of 3 months’ notice instead of 2 months. The changes have been brought in by the government as emergency measures amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, to try to give tenants some protection.

The 3 months’ notice period could change in time from anywhere between 3 months to 6 months.

The need to give longer notice periods could also, in time, be extended beyond September 2020.

It is our understanding that the idea behind making the notice period longer is that, when combined with the time to get from the end of the notice period to a court decision, we will no longer be subject to virus-related restrictions.

These changes apply across the board i.e. irrespective of whether or not the decision to evict the tenant is related to default arising due to the crisis. That may well be due to the practicalities of otherwise proving the reason for default.

See our residential possession proceedings briefing note for more information on the different types of notices.

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