At the end of March 2020, the Government introduced the Coronavirus Act 2020, which outlines a number of temporary measures to help protect, from eviction, both private and social tenants, during the current coronavirus pandemic.
Notice Requiring Possession
Within the coronavirus legislation, the government has increased the notice period a landlord is required to give a tenant – from 2 months to 3 months’ notice of their intention to seek possession of the rental property. This extended notice period has been granted for all notices served from the 26th March to 30th September 2020.
Should the tenant not vacate at the end of the notice, the landlord would then be required to apply to the courts for a possession hearing. In ordinary circumstances, this could take around 6 – 8 weeks to conclude. However, given that all housing possession actions through court have been suspended for a minimum of 3 months, this process will take much longer than usual.
It is also important to note that the 3 months’ notice and the end date of 30th September 2020, can be extended.
Tenant can no longer afford the rent
In these uncertain months ahead, there are tenants who are, or will, struggle to meet their living costs.
It is important to remember that a tenant remains responsible for their rent and utility bills, as per their tenancy agreement and should ensure that they continue to pay these outgoings as usual.
However if a tenant is facing financial hardship, it is important that they speak to their landlord. Always keep the lines of communication open and be as honest as you can with each other. The Government is further advising and encouraging landlords and tenants, to work together, to reach out and put in place measures and plans to help tenants to pay their rent, during these unprecedented times.
For further information, on 28th March the Government produced a helpful Guidance booklet for Landlords and Tenants, which can be reviewed on the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government website (www.gov.uk/government/publications )
‘Stay Safe and Stay at Home’
The above information has been taken from Government support advice during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is intended as a guide only and does not constitute legal advice. Full details of the Coronavirus Act 2020 can be found at legislation.gov.uk