Landlords of residential premises will be relieved to hear that the lengthy notice periods are slowly starting to come back down.
The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) (No 2) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/564) (Notice Regulations) and the Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) (England) (Amendment) and Suspension (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/562) (Forms Regulations) will take effect from 1 June 2021.
The Notice Regulations reduce the required notice periods for most residential possession notices in England, from six to four months, from 1 June 2021 until 30 September 2021 inclusive. The notice periods had previously been increased to six, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Existing exceptions will still apply, which mean that landlords will be able to give a shorter period of notice where the grounds of eviction relate to anti-social behaviour, domestic violence or fraud. Some changed have been made to the exceptions that apply where landlords rely on certain grounds involving rent arrears, the tenant’s right to rent or the death of the tenant.
Where the grounds of eviction relate to rent arrears, and at least four months’ rent is unpaid, landlords will only have to give four weeks’ notice. Where less than four months’ rent is owing, landlords will have to give four months’ notice from 1 June 2021, and this will reduce to two months’ notice from (and including) 1 August 2021.
The Forms Regulations introduce new prescribed forms of notice under section 8 and section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (HA 1988) to be used from 1 June 2021 which reflect the amendments made by the Notice Regulations. So it remains vital that any landlord serving their own notices, as well as doing all the usual checks, ensure they are using the correct form of Notice.
The period by which possession proceedings must have been commenced under section 21(4D) of the HA 1988 will also be reduced, from ten to eight months from the date on which the notice was given to reflect the reduced notice period.