At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government sought to ensure that renters, especially those who are vulnerable and on low-incomes, received the support they needed to see them through the pandemic, by imposing restrictions to ensure that they did not face the threat of eviction or homelessness as a result of the impact of coronavirus.
These restrictions are gradually easing with the roll-out of the vaccination programme.
The Government is taking a phased approach to the easing of restrictions on actions that landlords may take to evict tenants.
*The notice period for the most serious or urgent cases continues to be lower e.g. 4 weeks’ notice where at least 4 months’ rent arrears have accumulated.
In order to protect vulnerable households who could lose their homes during the pandemic, and also to protect against COVID-19 transmission, the government imposed a ban on bailiffs enforcing residential evictions. This ban was lifted on 31 May 2021 (although if someone has Covid-19 symptoms or is self-isolating, bailiffs will not take steps to enforce and a new appointment would need to be sought). Whilst acknowledging that the ban cannot continue indefinitely, Councils around the country are concerned about families becoming homeless, and are endeavouring to work with the Government on a plan to support and protect households to stay in their homes in as many cases as possible.
The most common tenancies that continue to be affected by the extended notice periods (that are gradually returning to pre-pandemic periods) are:
From 1 June 2021, any notices that are served to terminate a residential tenancy must give at least 4 months’ notice (which is a reduction of 2 months) except for serious or urgent cases*. Updated prescribed notices must be used.
Although notices to quit/terminate any of the tenancies can still be served, possession proceedings cannot be commenced until the notice period expires (subject to any extension).
Although the enforcement of the order will now be possible (from 1 June 2021), the reality is that renters must be given at least 14 days’ notice of eviction meaning the very earliest evictions will take place is mid-June (except in the most serious of circumstances).
You will need to secure a date for the eviction to take place with the court bailiffs and we expect the backlog to be significant, as the most urgent cases (involving fraud or anti-social behaviour) will continue to be prioritised by the courts.