Changes to notice periods due to Covid measures

Measures were introduced, that increased the normal notice period due to the Covid Pandemic. That meant from the 29th of August 2020 that the typical (Section 21) notice period was increased from 2 months to 6 months. This was introduced with the intention of protecting Tenants affected by the Pandemic and being unable to afford to pay their rent. This also gave blanket protection in some instances to Tenants and it is also argued that the introduction of the 6 month notices led to some Tenants taking advantage of this protection by not keeping up with their rental obligations.

The extended notice period, was a temporary measure that was introduced and the road map to come back to the original notice period length (2 months for a section 21 is coming into place soon). There has also been a ban on bailiff-enforced evictions, which will be lifted on the 31st of May 2021. This has meant that Landlords who have served the correct notices, and the Tenants haven’t vacated on the expiry of the notice (even if they have obtained a court order) haven’t been able to get possession. However, Blackpool and Fylde Coast Landlords will now be able to apply to the Courts for Bailiffs for Evictions where required.

Notice period will be reduced to 4 months from the 1st of June 2021 (exemptions for some more serious cases, as detailed below). We will await confirmation when the next step is taken to reduce the Section 21 notice period back to 2 month’s, however it is clear that this will not take place until at-least October 2021. A revised Section 21 Notice will be required for the 4 month notices.

It is also worth taking into consideration that the Government has pledged (Queens Speech, December 2019) the abolishment of the Section 21, maybe the Government will take this opportunity to make the change.

If you are looking to gain possession and you face a problematic Tenant and the Tenant doesn’t vacate on the expiry of the Tenancy we face an issue of huge backlogs at the Courts or Bailiffs. Solicitors seem to be overwhelmed currently, which also will lead to delays.

My recommendation is to have Rent and Legal Protection (or similar Insured Rent Guarantee Product in place), to avoid extremely costly and stressful issues in the future. Especially with the uncertain Economic times we face.

Exemptions to the 4 month notices are:

  • anti-social behaviour (immediate to 4 weeks’ notice)
  • domestic abuse in the social sector (2 to 4 weeks’ notice)
  • false statement (2 to 4 weeks’ notice)
  • over 4 months’ accumulated rent arrears (4 weeks’ notice)
  • breach of immigration rules ‘Right to Rent’ (2 weeks’ notice)
  • death of a tenant (2 months’ notice)


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