The Coronavirus Act 2020: What it means for residential landlords?
The Coronavirus Act 2020 has amended how sections 8 and 21 of the Housing Act 1988, a landlord’s means of taking possession of a property let to a tenant under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy will have effect between 26 March 2020 until 30 September 2020.
A Section 21 Notice (which need not provide a reason for the landlord requiring possession of the property) served by a landlord must now give the tenant(s) three months’ notice that they are required to vacate the property. If the tenant does not vacate the property prior to the end of the three month period, the landlord is entitled to issue Court proceedings for possession of the property
A Section 8 Notice (which must specify a reason for the landlord seeking possession) must now provide the tenant(s) with three months’ notice that they are required to vacate the property, regardless of the reason the landlord gives for requiring possession. If the tenant does not vacate the property prior to the end of the three month period, the landlord is entitled to issue Court proceedings for possession of the property.
Form of Notice
Section 8 and 21 Notices must be in prescribed forms. The wording of the respective prescribed forms has been amended by the Coronavirus Act to take into account the above amendments.
Landlords should be careful to ensure they do not serve a notice which omits the amended wording, during the period in which the amendments have effect, as it will lead to any subsequent claim for possession in reliance on the notice been struck out by the Courts.
Gas Safety Certificates
At present, the requirements to obtain a Gas Safety Certificate every 12 months has not been altered so landlords should ensure that, where a Certificate will soon need renewing, they ensure necessary arrangements are made whilst remaining flexible for tenants who may be self-isolating in accordance with Government guidance.
Seeking Possession via the Courts
If notice has been served on a tenant and the time in which they are required to vacate has now elapsed or will soon elapse, the landlord remains able to issue court proceedings for possession of the property. However, it is important to note that once the proceedings have been issued, the Court will stay the proceedings for a period of 90 days in all cases where possession is sought from a tenant.
Further changes may follow and we will provide updates as and when they come into force. In the meantime, if you remain uncertain as to the steps required to take possession of your property, please contact Akanshi Agrawal or Connor Raine in our Litigation department on 01702 352511.