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The Coronavirus Act 2020 and Residential Tenancies

View profile for Jonathan Flynn
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The Coronavirus Act 2020 has now come into force, bringing emergency measures that affect residential tenancies.

Schedule 29 of the Act introduces important statutory amendments that affect notice periods for residential tenancies in England and Wales. 

The Act has extended the notice period that must be given to tenants to three months before possession proceedings can begin. This applies to any notice seeking possession or any notice to quit served during the ‘relevant period’ under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, the Housing Act 1985 and the Housing Act 1988. This relevant period is from the day after the Act was passed and up to 30 September 2020. As of 26 March 2020 a landlord must now comply with this.

Even if a landlord is seeking to repossess a property for reasons unrelated to the Coronavirus outbreak they must still comply with these new notice requirements. So, it is important that landlords consider and follow these changes before serving a notice seeking possession and that tenants ensure compliance by landlords.

Under the new measures, landlords who want to gain possession of a residential property after serving notice during the relevant period will be unable to do so unless:

 (a) They have given the tenant the relevant notice of intention to commence possession proceedings;

 (b) The notice period is one of at least three months; and

 (c) The proceedings are started on or after the intended date for commencing proceedings.

This means that any landlord seeking to serve a Section 8 or Section 21 Notice under the Housing Act 1988 during the relevant period will need to specify a three month notice period before proceedings can be issued.

Importantly the measures only apply to notices served during the relevant period. As the measures are not retrospective they will not affect any ongoing possession proceedings or any notices served prior to the Act coming into force.

It is also worth noting that the measures introduced by the Act do not provide any rent relief for tenants. So, as long as landlords comply with the new notice requirements they can still seek possession of their property. The Government has, however, already said that it expects landlords and tenants “to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances”.

JCP Solicitors’ Property Litigation team is on hand to provide tailored advice to landlords and tenants during this difficult time.

Jonathan Flynn is an Associate Solicitor in our Property Litigation team and has experience in dealing with a wide range of property disputes. For further information you can contact him on jonathan.flynn@jcpsolicitors.co.uk or by telephone on 01792 525429.

For further advice, please contact one of our local offices below:

  • Swansea: 01792 773773
  • Cardiff: 02920 225472
  • Carmarthen: 01267 234022
  • Caerphilly: 02920 860628
  • Cowbridge: 01446 771742
  • Haverfordwest: 01437 764723
  • Fishguard: 01348 873671
  • Pontypridd: 01443 408455

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