To protect residential tenants from eviction during the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency legislation (Schedule 29 to the Coronavirus Act 2020) was enacted to extend the period of notice that must be given in relation to possession proceedings for certain residential tenancies in England.
Initially, the notice period was extended to three months. The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 subsequently amended Schedule 29 to increase the notice period from three to six months in most cases.
It was intended that this increased notice period would be in force between 29 August 2020 and 31 March 2021.
However, the Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2021 (Regulations) have recently been passed and will come into force on 31 March 2021.
These regulations will extend the period for which the increased notice periods are to apply until 31 May 2021.
Shorter notice periods will still be permitted in certain limited circumstance such as in cases of domestic violence, anti-social behaviour and where at least six months’ rent is unpaid as at the date of service of the possession notice.
It remains to be seen whether the period of application of the regulations will be further extended and will have an impact on landlords that hold a residential portfolio or on developers seeking to purchase properties for redevelopment subject to vacant possession being secured.
If you have any questions regarding securing of vacant possession, then please contact Jon Mason.