Support for commercial and residential tenants into the summer months with ban on bailiff enforced evictions extended
The ban on bailiff enforced evictions in England, as well the requirement for landlords to provide 6-month notice periods, has been extended until 31 May 2021 for residential tenants, notes Ross Pierrepont, from Tallents Solicitors.
The ban on commercial evictions has also been extended by another 3 months to 30 June 2021 to ensure business owners and businesses are supported as they start to re-open.
Tenants are still required to pay their rent during the pandemic but they are encouraged to speak to their landlords as soon as possible if they are struggling to pay their rent. Some councils have Discretionary Housing Payments available to help tenants, so it is worth checking with the local council to see if help can be applied for.
For landlords facing financial difficulties due to tenants struggling to pay rent, mortgage payment holidays of up to six months can still be applied for until 31 March 2021.
Landlords commencing eviction proceedings must give six months’ notice, except in all but “the most serious circumstances” such as: domestic abuse, fraud, illegal occupation, anti-social behaviour and arrears of six months’ rent or more.
Regaining possession of a property with either a Section 21 or Section 8 notice
If landlords need to regain possession of a property shortly after the deadline extension date, then they can still take action now by serving using a Section 21 or Section 8 notice, especially if it is likely that the court or bailiffs might be required to regain possession. However there are still key guidelines to follow:
- Section 21 notices can be used for property under an assured shorthold tenancy if the notice expires at on after the end of the fixed term, or during a tenancy with no fixed end date (also known as a ‘periodic’ tenancy. Tenants must be given at least six months’ notice that the landlord requires possession. However, there are several other criteria that must be met before a Section 21 notice can be served, so landlords should seek legal advice to ensure they comply.
- Section 8 notices can be served under an assured or assured shorthold tenancy but the reasons for seeking possession of the property must be clearly specified in the notice.
Robert Jenrick MP, the Housing Secretary said: “It is right that as we move through the roadmap, we ensure that businesses and renters continue to be supported. We have taken unprecedented action to support both commercial and residential tenants throughout the pandemic – with a £280 billion economic package to keep businesses running and people in jobs and able to meet their outgoings, such as rent.”
The government has said it will consider the best approach to move away from emergency protections from the beginning of June, taking into account public health advice and the wider roadmap.
Mr Jenrick continued: “These measures build on the government’s action to provide financial support as restrictions are lifted over the coming months – extending the furlough scheme, business rates holiday and the Universal Credit uplift.”
Ross notes that these measures align with the government’s broader strategy for protecting public health and will continue to help reduce pressure on essential public services as the country starts to move out of lockdown. However, the government will be keeping a close eye on proceedings and are prepared to take further steps as necessary.
If you are a landlord or tenant, residential or commercial and require clear legal advice, then please contact Tallents Solicitors on 01636 671881 to arrange a confidential appointment.
The situation with Covid-19 is rapidly changing so this article is intended as a guide only. For the latest guidelines, please refer to gov.uk.