Important changes to notice periods and bailiff enforced evictions

3rd June 2021

Guidance for landlords

The Government has announced changes to the emergency measures on notice periods and bailiff-enforced evictions, which were introduced during the coronavirus pandemic.

Notice periods

Before the pandemic, notice periods for repossession were usually 2 months in England.

These notice periods were increased as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. If a landlord gave a tenant notice between 29 August 2020 and 31 May 2021, the notice period had to be at least 6 months.

From 1 June 2021, for most cases, landlords must give tenants at least 4 months’ notice.

Notice periods for the most serious cases will remain lower:

  • anti-social behaviour (immediate to 4 weeks’ notice)
  • domestic abuse in the social sector (2 to 4 weeks’ notice)
  • false statement (2 to 4 weeks’ notice)
  • 4 months’ or more accumulated rent arrears (4 weeks’ notice)
  • breach of immigration rules ‘Right to Rent’ (2 weeks’ notice)
  • death of a tenant (2 months’ notice)

Notice periods for cases with less than 4 months’ of unpaid rent will reduce again to 2 months’ notice from 1 August 2021.

From 1 October 2021, notice periods are due to return to pre-pandemic levels. However, this will be subject to the public health advice and progress with the roadmap out of lockdown.

New prescribed forms for Section 8 and Section 21 notices have also been published. The forms can be accessed here  (see Form 3 (Section 8 Notice) and Form 6A (Section 21 Notice)).

Bailiff-enforced evictions

In March 2020, the Government announced a ban on bailiff-enforced evictions. The ban stopped landlords in England from sending in bailiffs to evict tenants, except in limited circumstances.

The latest extension to the ban ended on 31 May and so bailiffs will begin operating again to enforce possession orders.

At least 14 days’ notice is required before an eviction can take place. Therefore, no evictions are expected to take place before mid-June, except in the most serious circumstances.

Evictions will also not take place if the bailiffs have been made aware that anyone living in the property has coronavirus symptoms or is self-isolating.

Need some guidance on possession proceedings? We’re here to help – get in touch.

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