The impact of COVID-19 has had a marked impact on Landlords of residential property. The large number of tenants facing financial uncertainty from either job losses, the furlough scheme or wage reductions has meant that a considerable number of tenants are unable to pay their rent. This has and will no doubt create some uncertainty for landlords.
The Government has introduced a number of emergency measures to protect tenants during the pandemic, below is a general synopsis of the position.
- During the period commencing on 26 March 2020 and ending on 30 September 2020 the minimum notice period is now no less than three months; this includes a number of different types of tenancies and includes the most common being assured shorthold tenancies. You will note that the usual notices periods are 2 months or eight weeks (depending on how rent is paid) for notice under section 21 and 14 days under section 8. The change will only affect those notices that are served within the relevant period, any notices served prior to the relevant period are not caught by this extension.
- Ongoing possession proceedings, meaning those that were commenced before the relevant period, have been suspended for 90 days irrespective of what stage the proceedings are at. This includes the enforcement of any writs or warrants of possession.
- The courts will not process any new possession claims during this period, but please note that this does not apply to excluded tenants which includes those currently in interim accommodation and lodgers.
It is uncertain whether these measures will be extended but the legislation does allow them to be extended further should this be necessary.