The government has finally announced that notice periods will return to pre-pandemic levels on 01/10/2021.
Since 26/03/2020, Schedule 29 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 increased the notice periods in relation to most possession proceedings for private residential tenancies with the aim of protecting residential tenants from eviction during the COVID-19 pandemic. Schedule 29 has been amended several times since its enactment.
The not-so succinctly titled “Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies and Notices) (Amendment and Suspension) (England) Regulations 2021” will:
1. With effect from 01/10/2021, revert the notice period that must be given in notices seeking possession of residential properties in England back to the pre-pandemic notice period.
2. Introduce new prescribed forms of notice under section 8 (Form 3) and section 21 (Form 6A) of the Housing Act 1988.
3. With effect from 30/09/2021, extend the “relevant period” in Schedule 29 to 25/03/2022. This means that the government retains its emergency powers to impose longer notice periods until then.
It is important to note that these changes will not retrospectively apply to notices served before 01/10/2021. The notice periods which were applicable to those notices when they were served will remain.
It is therefore now tactically worthwhile waiting until 01/10/2021 before serving section 21 notices and most section 8 notices. Of course, landlords must make sure the notice is on the correct prescribed form!
Landlords should also be aware:
*There remains a possibility that extended notice periods will be re-imposed between now and 25/03/2022. This will depend on the effect of the pandemic over the winter period.
*The procedural changes to possession proceedings (brought in by Practice Direction 55C to the Civil Procedure Rules 1998) remain in force until 30 November 2021. This date could be extended.
*Court fees are due to rise from 30/09/2021.
Do these changes affect you? Do you have issues with tenants and not know what to do next? Get in touch with Rebecca at Landlord Support for some free and friendly initial advice… 01704 790 532, [email protected], www.landlord-support.co.uk.