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June has brought with it an easing of the rules that apply to rental property possession proceedings.
From 1 June 2021, notice periods must be at least four months in most cases, including where the tenant has less than four months’ rent arrears.
From 1 August 2021, the notice period for cases where there are less than four months of unpaid rent, will further reduce to two months’ notice.
Notice periods for the most serious cases are lower with most requiring two or four weeks’ notice. The notice period for ‘serious arrears’ is four weeks’ notice and the threshold for what constitutes ‘serious arrears’ is ‘arrears equivalent to four or more months’ rent.
Newly updated Government guidance, COVID-19 and renting: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities, gives full details.
This confirms that landlords are now able to progress possession claims through the courts, although these will ‘carefully prioritised’ with the most egregious cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour and other crimes taking precedence.
The restrictions on bailiff enforcement has ended. From 1 June, bailiffs may send out eviction notices and enforce evictions. Given the requirement to provide 14 days’ notice, no evictions are expected until mid-June, except in the most egregious cases and bailiffs have been asked not to carry out an eviction if anyone living in the property has Covid-19 symptoms or is self-isolating.
The Government has published new guidance for landlords and tenants on the possession action process through the courts.