A change in law means landlords must give tenants six months’ notice when serving an eviction notice to tenants. The government says this will give tenants extra time to find somewhere else to live over the winter.
“We have protected renters during the pandemic by banning evictions for six months – the longest eviction ban in the UK,” says the Housing Secretary.
Are there Exceptions?
It’s not all bad news. If your tenants have committed fraud or are displaying antisocial behaviour, they can still be evicted. Eviction cases of this nature will be prioritised in the court system and landlords can give less notice.
The new changes do not apply to eviction notices served prior to August.
Evictions cannot be enforced in areas where local lockdowns are in place.
Housing charities are pleased with the new changes.
“It’s a step in the right direction to make sure that renters threatened with eviction will have more time to find a new home. And sparing families the misery of being evicted over Christmas is the right thing to do,” says Shelter, but it warns that delaying evictions only kicks the problem further down the road, with many tenants struggling to pay their bills.
Courts To Reopen Soon
The courts will reopen on 21 September. Landlords who applied for a possession order prior to 3 August will have to reactivate their cases, which will be subject to a review hearing. Information must be provided to the court that states how tenants have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. If a landlord doesn’t do this, the case will be adjourned. Landlord groups say many of their members have had no way of dealing with tenants who refuse to pay the rent.
The global pandemic has been disastrous for the private rental sector. Research carried out by housing charity Shelter has found that a quarter of a million renters are now in rent arrears. This has had a knock-on effect on landlords especially those with mortgages.
Extra Help Needed for Landlords
At the start of the pandemic, three-month mortgage payment holidays were implemented to provide some respite. This has since been extended. Landlords who have been financially impacted can apply to extend their mortgage repayment holiday. However, it’s unlikely the payment holidays will last as long as the eviction ban, which could cause massive problems for landlords unable to pay their mortgages.
The British Landlords Association is calling on the government to provide extra help for struggling landlords: “landlords cannot carry this financial burden on their own, they need help.”
If your tenant has stopped paying the rent and you need to evict them, but you are unfamiliar with the steps you need to follow, it’s sensible to take professional advice. Any mistakes made when evicting a tenant will lead to further delays, which is the last thing any landlord needs right now. Landlord Action is one such body that can provide assistance.
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