Six-month notice periods and bailiff enforced eviction ban extended once again
On 10 March 2021, the Government announced that further protection will be provided to residential tenants. This includes the ban on bailiff enforced evictions being delayed to at least 31 May 2021 in all but the most serious circumstances. Once the pause comes to an end, bailiffs need to provide at least two weeks’ notice of an eviction, which means evictions in non-serious cases will resume from 14 June 2021.
Landlords were also previously required to provide their tenants with 6-month notice periods before they could apply to Court for a possession order to evict them. This has also been extended until at least 31 May 2021 offering renters additional time.
With the current lockdown restrictions due to end on 21 June 2021 (subject to any further revision), the hope is that renters in both the private and social sectors can continue to stay in their homes until at least 31 May 2021 and have enough time to find alternative accommodation or support moving forward
However, there are still exceptions to the above, such as cases of anti-social behaviour, illegal occupation, death of a tenant where the property is unoccupied, fraud, perpetrators of domestic abuse in social housing and extreme rent arrears equivalent to 6 months’ rent. It is important to be aware that evictions can only happen if the court has already made an order, and also identified that the eviction can go ahead under the rules in place during lockdown.
Hearings still going ahead
Although bailiff enforced evictions have been delayed, this does not mean that hearings in Court will not go ahead. If renters have received papers from Court notifying them of a hearing which they are expected to attend, this could be in person or via telephone/video conferencing, it is vital that they attend and receive legal advice before this date.
The Government’s measures unfortunately only apply to renters who have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) and some who have licences. They exclude lodgers, holiday-lets, hostel accommodation and accommodation for asylum seekers. Landlords would usually not need to get a Court Order to evict lodgers.
Previous rules still stand
The government has further confirmed that the previous court rules and procedures introduced in September 2020 have also been extended for the end of July 2021 to ensure that the most serious cases, such as anti-social behaviour or fraud, are prioritised and landlords will be required to provide the courts with information on how the pandemic has impacted their tenants. For claims issued before 3 August 2020 the service of a reactivation notice has also been extended to 30 April 2021.