The UK Government passed into law the Coronavirus Act on Wednesday 25 March 2020 providing additional powers to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak including measures to suspend new evictions from private rented accommodation while the national crisis is taking place.
Under the Coronavirus Act, landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a three-month period. This includes possession of tenancies in the Rent Act 1977, the Housing Act 1985, the Housing Act 1996 and the Housing Act 1988.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
When using either Section 8 or Section 21 notices to quit, landlords must give at least three months’ notice before they can apply to the court for possession. This applies regardless of which ground is used for Section 8.
WHO DOES IT AFFECT?
The changes apply to England and Wales only and came into force on 26 March 2020 (the day after the Coronavirus Act was passed) until 30 September 2020.
NEW AND EXISTING POSSESSION CLAIMS
Importantly, the change in law only applies to notices served on or after 26 March 2020. From 27 March 2020 the court service will suspend all ongoing housing possession action. This means that neither cases either currently in or about to go in the system can progress to the stage where someone could be evicted. This suspension of housing possessions action will initially last for 90 days, but this can be extended if needed.
The Government has updated Form 6A Notice seeking possession of a property let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy to reflect the change in the law which came into force on 26 March 2020. The Form 6A should be used by landlords in England up to 30 September 2020.
The new rules mean that granting possession is not stopped completely, rather the Government has chosen to extend notice periods. However, the UK Government has the power to alter the three-month notice period to six months or any other period.
Propertymark has developed a Fact Sheet with details of the legislative change that will be published very soon. Propertymark members have access to the legal helpline for specific enquiries about the application of the law.
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