COVID-19: Update for residential landlords and tenants

Both landlords and tenants face uncertain times during the coronavirus pandemic but measures are now in place to help during this worrying time.

The Coronavirus Act 2020 (the Act) came into effect from 26 March 2020 bringing many changes to adapt the law during the current pandemic.

Some of those changes relate to how a landlord can recover possession of their property (i.e end the tenancy). Now tenants have extra protection against being evicted during a time where they may be unable to pay their rent as a result of the pandemic.

What you need to know

Normally, in order to recover possession of a residential property from a tenant, a landlord is required to give two months written notice. In some circumstances, (usually tenant default) landlords can be required to give as little as 2 weeks’ notice.

The Act now requires landlords to give a minimum period of three months’ notice if serving any notice requiring possession between 26 March 2020 and 30 September 2020. Landlords cannot take any court action until after the three months.

Tenants are still liable to pay their rent during this period and they should communicate with their landlord and seek further financial support via the Government where possible.

Any notices requiring possession served before 26 March 2020 are enforceable in the usual way however, it is unfortunately not as straight forward as that. The County Courts are currently staying any possession proceedings (and proceedings to enforce possession orders) for a period of 90 days from 26 March 2020 i.e 25 June 2020. This means no tenant can be evicted during this period.

Update: The Government has now announced that the current ban on evictions will be extended for another 2 months up until 23 August 2020.

We are here to help

At Temple Heelis we act for both landlords and tenants in residential property matters and offer a free initial consultation. To find out more and to hear about our fixed fee pricing structures, please contact Laura Bright, Richard Moore or John Sim.