Ministers have made important concessions about how repossession cases in the rental market will be handled from 20th September.
It follows extensive lobbying by the National Residential Landlords Association after the Government U-turned on its plan for such cases to be heard again from 23rd August.
Regulations published Friday 28th August which came into force on Saturday 29th August mean landlords only need to give tenants who have committed anti-social behaviour four weeks’ notice of their intention to repossess a property. Those who have committed acts of domestic violence will only need to be given two weeks’ notice.
In cases of tenant rent arrears, landlords will now only be required to give four weeks’ notice where a tenant has built six months of arrears. This will ensure action can start to be taken now against tenants whose arrears had been built up before the COVID lockdown. Last week the Government had said the courts would only prioritise cases where tenants were in a year or more’s worth of arrears.
Whilst the NRLA is welcoming today’s announcements, it is warning that it will be mean nothing without a cast iron guarantee that the courts will begin to hear cases on 20th September. It is further disappointed that the six-month notice period will remain in cases where landlords need to regain possession of a property in order to live in it. This will continue to penalise those, such as service men and women in the military, renting their homes out whilst working away.
The announcement fails also to provide the financial package of hardship loans needed to cover COVID-related rent arrears which are vital to sustaining tenancies.
On Friday 28th August, Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association said:
“Today’s announcement provides welcome clarity about how possession cases will be handled. However, it will mean nothing without a complete guarantee that the courts will hear cases from 20th September.
“It is disappointing that the Government has so far failed to heed the warnings of the NRLA and others that a financial package is needed to pay-off rent arrears built due to COVID. In the end this is the best way to sustain tenancies. We will continue to campaign hard for this important measure.”