Will notice periods change?
Boris confirmed earlier this week that he wants the Country to get back to normal and to learn to live with Covid-19. I am certain you will have your own opinion on this.
One thing is for sure, we have all seen many changes to our every day lives over the last 18 months through the various restrictions and guidance put in place by the government. In the Private Rented Sector we very quickly saw the introduction of protection for tenants in the form of rent payment holidays and protection from eviction.
As the economy begins to open up, so the constraints are lifted and we have already seen a reduction in the notice periods for both the Section 21 and Section 8 notices from six months to the current four. For those landlords facing a shortage in rent due to arrears, the notice periods are about to change again on the 1st August bringing the notice period to 2 months for tenants with less than four months of arrears and four weeks notice for those with arrears of more than four months.
So, what is likely to happen once all restrictions are lifted later this month?
I have one eye on the Renters’ Reform Bill which amongst other important points, is looking to abolish Section 21 notices entirely. My in built skeptisim alert levels rose to high when notice periods were extended. I wondered if this was a warm up to longer notice periods or that the plan was to leave the extended periods in place until the complete removal of the Section 21 process.
It would seem though that I was wrong (teach me to be an old cynic). A few days ago the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government released a lengthy letter from Eddie Hughes MP and buried halfway through was this little snippet: “Our intention is that notice periods will return to their pre-COVID lengths from 1 October 2021 but we will keep this under review.”
Pre-Covid seems like another lifetime but back in those days, Section 21 carried a notice period of two months. Section 8’s varied depending on the grounds used. The most common Section 8 ground is ground 8 for rent arrears and this was a two week notice of the intention to start possession proceedings.
The return to normal notice periods will certainly be a relief for those landlords who have tenants that have used the system to their advantage. For those tenants who have genuinely fallen into hardship, I would always recommend that landlords use the eviction process as the last resort.
There is lots of assistance out there for both tenants and landlords and I would encourage you all to work with each other, just as we learnt to, and did, during the height of the pandamic.
Please note the date this article was published as the law may have changed since it was posted. You should always seek independent legal advice if you are intending to rely on any of the contents.All resources & news