Last year, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government introduced several emergency legislation changes through the Coronavirus Act 2020 to protect tenants against eviction, including a temporary embargo (moratorium) on eviction proceedings and preventing landlords from enforcing evictions with bailiffs.
Whilst the Government confirmed that the evictions ban on commercial tenants for non-payment of rent will be extended again until the 25th of March 2022, there has been a gradual return to standard timeframes for residential tenants. As of the 1st of October 2021, notice periods have reverted back to two months for no-fault evictions – also known as section 21 evictions – and two weeks for section 8 evictions where the tenant has more than two months of rent arrears.
These changes apply to assured shorthold tenancy agreements in England.
Changes to notice periods
- Regulations that came into force in England on the 1st of June 2021 amended schedule 29 to the Coronavirus Act 2020 to provide that until the 30th of September 2021, there is a general requirement for a four-month notice period. Exceptions apply, e.g. for cases involving severe rent arrears and anti-social behaviour.
- From the 1st of October 2021 in England, notice periods will revert to their pre-pandemic levels.
- In Wales, with some exceptions, a notice period of six months applies up to the 31st of December 2021.
- In Scotland, with some exceptions, a six-month notice period applies up to the 31st of March 2022.
- In Northern Ireland, 12-week notice periods apply up to the 4th of May 2022.
Landlord and Tenant Disputes
Whist the eviction ban proved a lifeline for many tenants during a time they felt most vulnerable, some landlords felt they were not looked after in the same way with the perceived lack of measures to protect their rights and were left struggling due to the level of rent arrears and no access to justice. Therefore, the update was good news for landlords, but concerns are rising over how a fair balancing act can be undertaken between landlords and tenants' rights.
These changes are likely to prove complex for all involved, so getting the right legal advice is essential. Jarmans Solicitors have the specialist knowledge that you need to help you navigate tenancy disputes, landlord responsibilities, and tenancies.
If you are a landlord facing difficulties with your tenants or a tenant concerned about evictions, please get in touch with our specialist dispute resolution team, who can offer expert advice, finding a solution right for your situation.