The Government has brought forward a package of measures to protect renters affected by Coronavirus. No renter will be forced out of their home.
INCREASED NOTICE PERIOD – From 26th March 2020, if a landlord intends to seek possession, a minimum notice period of 3 months must be given to to a tenant. This increased notice period will apply in law until 30th September 2020, however both the end point and the 3 month notice period can be extended if needed. This protection covers most tenants in the private and social rented sectors in England and Wales, and all grounds of eviction.
As a result of the change in law, the new Form 6a was published on 26th March 2020 and is to be used until 30 September 2020.
A new Form 3 was also published to be used when serving a Section 8 notice.
The Government makes it clear that tenants are still liable for their rent and should pay this as usual. Government support is available for tenants who are facing financial hardship.
ONGOING POSSESSION CASES SUSPENDED – From 27th March 2020, court services have suspended all ongoing housing possession action. This means that neither cases that are currently in or about to go into the system can progress to the stage where someone can be evicted. This suspension will initially last for 90 days but can be extended if needed.
If you already had a possession claim in the court system, it will stay at the position it was in until the suspension is lifted, after which it will start again from the point it was at.
If you had already served notice prior to 26th March 2020 but have not yet completed the court paperwork, you can proceed the paperwork to court as normal but no further action by the court will be taken until the after the court suspension is lifted (minimum 90 days from 27th March, may be extended).
The government is committed to supporting landlords, and maintaining the positive partnership between tenants and landlords.
LANDLORD OBLIGATIONS – Landlords remain legally obligated to to ensure properties meet the required standard. Urgent, essential health and safety repairs should be made.
An agreement for non-urgent repairs to be done later should be made between tenants and landlords. Local authorities are also encouraged to take a pragmatic, risk-based approach to enforcement.