The end of the eviction ban
The end of the eviction ban and what it means for landlords and tenants
To protect tenants during the Covid-19 pandemic, the government put an eviction ban in place, which prevented bailiff-enforced evictions from taking place except in the most serious cases.
The ban came to an end on May 31 2021 and from June 1, notice periods have now been shortened to four months when they were previously extended to six months.
What has now changed?
The government announced that restrictions on evictions would begin to taper off from June 1. In most cases, landlords who gave notice of eviction on May 31, will not be able to start the claims process until November.
From June 1:
- Enforcement of possession by county court bailiffs and high court enforcement offers will be allowed again in all cases. They will not enforce when a tenant is self-isolating or has Covid-19 symptoms.
- Notice periods that were set at six months, for Section 8 and Section 21, will be reduced to four months. Death of a tenant (Ground 7) has reduced to two months’ notice and Right to Rent (Ground 7B) reduced to two weeks’ notice.
- The definition of ‘serious rent arrears’ which allows access to a four-week notice period under Section 8, grounds 8 ,10 and 11 has now reduced from six months to four months’ rent. Unless the rental arrears are higher than 4 months in which case it is 4 weeks notice.
From August 1 2021, notice periods for cases where there is less than four months’ unpaid rent will reduce to two months. This is being done to help landlords and tenants and to respond to the difference between Covid and pre-Covid notice periods for rent arrears.
These measures are designed to allow tenants to be protected with longer notice periods for the upcoming months while also allowing landlords to seek justice and repossession where necessary.
Dependent on public health advice and progress with the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, notice periods will return to pre-pandemic levels from October 1 2021.
According to research by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), 840,000 private renters in England and Wales could have built up rent arrears since the Covid-19 pandemic started in March.
What can landlords do about evictions now?
Landlords can now utilise the government’s new Rental Mediation service. The mediation scheme can be used by landlords and tenants for free and now involves a third party independent trained neutral mediator to help to identify and resolve issues.
This could be a good option for landlords and tenants as the scheme is likely to be quicker than a full court hearing and remote mediation should happen within 10 days of referral.
If mediation is successful, then both parties will sign an agreement, which will be given to a judge to approve. The agreement will explain what actions the landlord and tenant should take next.
What can tenants do when faced with evictions?
Court bailiffs can carry out evictions, and tenants will receive two weeks’ notice of an eviction date. However, bailiffs will not evict tenants if they are made aware that someone in the property:
- has Covid-19 symptoms,
- has tested positive for Covid-19
- has been told to self-isolate by the NHS
When tenants receive a notice of eviction, the bailiff’s contact details will be there and tenants should let them know if they are affected by the above exemptions. Bailiffs can also be told on the day. The eviction will then be rescheduled and tenants will be given another two weeks’ notice.
If a tenant is experiencing money problems and is losing income because they are unable to self-isolate and can’t work from home, they may qualify for a £500 single payment. Test and Trace Support Payments are made by the local council. Tenants should also consider speaking to their landlord, who may be sympathetic and offer a late rent payment or a reduced rent fee.
Here at Century 21 UK, we are part of one of the largest residential estate agency organisations in the world. We can use our years of experience and knowledge to help you get the most from your rental property in the year ahead. You can find out more about us here.
Speak to your local Century 21 agent for more information