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A Covid-19 Property Q&A - Seeking possession of tenanted residential properties

View profile for Jonathan Flynn
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In response to the outbreak of covid-19 new rules were introduced in March this year that affect landlords’ powers to obtain possession of their properties. 

We have been contacted by many residential landlords and tenants during this difficult time and below are a few of the common questions we have received:

I have heard there are emergency measures in place which restrict a landlord’s ability to obtain possession of their property.  Can I still serve a notice seeking possession?

Yes. Whilst you can still serve a notice (be it a section 8 or section 21 notice) the notice period for each has been extended.

Can I still issue court proceedings seeking possession of a property where a notice has already been served and has since expired?

Yes. Providing the notice is valid you can still issue court proceedings. They will however be stayed (paused) until the stay on possession proceedings has ended (which is, currently, due to end towards the end of this month).

What will happen at the end of this stay?

If you have already issued court proceedings that require a hearing (such as a claim based on a section 8 notice) the court will list a possession hearing where your claim will be considered. There will be a backlog and therefore it is likely that the hearing date will be later than what it would normally be.

If you have issued accelerated possession court proceedings (proceedings based on a section 21 notice) these will be considered by a Judge in the normal way once the stay has ended.

I have a possession order but my tenant has not vacated. Can I still instruct a bailiff?

​Whist you can send your request for the appointment of a bailiff there will be no action until the stay has ended as you are unable to enforce a possession order during this time. There will also likely be a backlog for bailiffs and therefore any appointment date is likely to be later than what it would normally be.

Should I be proactive or wait until the stay has ended?

You should be proactive. If you have already served a notice which has expired there are certain time frames for issuing a procession claim. Furthermore, there will likely be an influx of possession claims after the stay has ended and therefore the sooner you issue your claim the sooner it is likely to be considered by a Judge (once the stay has ended).

Are there other options available to me?

Yes. It is not uncommon for landlords and tenants to come to an agreement to end a tenancy. This is quite often beneficial to both parties and it can be more cost and time -effective. It is however important that any agreement is recorded properly.

The above may seem unclear to both landlords and tenants and whilst you may not feel that you are ready or in a position to take action we would always recommend speaking to us for some initial advice. Please contact us to find out what options may be available to you during these unprecedented times.

Jonathan Flynn is an Associate Solicitor in our Property Litigation team and has experience in dealing with a wide range of property disputes including residential landlord and tenant issues. For further support, contact Jonathan by email on

On Wednesday17 June 2020, Jonathan will be hosting a free online workshop suitable for those that own or manage residential property/properties let on assured shorthold tenancy agreements in Wales. This workshop will take place from 11am -11.30am followed by a live Q&A.

It will provide an overview of:

  • What notices are available to landlords
  • What practical considerations should be considered before serving notice/s
  • How emergency legislation implemented due to covid-19 has affected matters
  • The court proceedings available to landlords
  • What happens following court proceedings and a brief outline of enforcement options

To sign up email