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  Developments in possession proceedings for landlords and tenants during the Covid-19 pandemic
private sector rented housing possession claims which come before the courts. Where a landlord is entitled to the
return of their property (without having to prove fault, by serving a Section 21 notice on the tenant on or after 29th August 2020), they now need to give the tenant at least six months’ notice to vacate the property, not just two months as before the lockdown. Under this procedure, landlords can issue court proceedings against their tenant at any time from between 4-10 months from the date when the Section 21 notice was served.
If a landlord has to use the more complicated and involved grounds under Section 8 to seek to recover possession of the property from their tenant, then the new notice periods vary depending on the grounds relied on. These range from a notice period of four weeks where the tenant is in arears of six months’ rent or more, rising to at least six months’ notice, if the tenant’s rent arrears are less than six months. There are also new notice periods introduced for various other Section 8 grounds depending on the seriousness of the tenant’s actions across the various grounds. These range from two weeks’ notice in certain circumstances, to three months’ on other grounds, depending on which basis the landlord seeks possession of the property.
The above rule alterations, have been supplemented by a raft of other new changes to court rules, which introduce additional steps a landlord will have to now take when pursuing a court claim for a possession order through the courts.
The combination of these changes is likely to mean it will take a landlord over 12 months to evict their tenant while these rules remain in force.
What is clear, is that if you are having problems relating to the tenancy of your property, whether as a landlord or a tenant, there has never been a time to seek independent legal advice on your position if you are in any doubt as to where you stand.
This article was written by Tim Parsons, an Associate Solicitor at Bates Wells and Braithwaite – 01787 880440. Tim has extensive experience of helping clients to resolve a broad range of commercial, financial, property and contract disputes through negotiation, mediation, arbitration and the courts.
 With the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic showing no signs of letting up any time soon, the government have introduced new procedures which affect the steps landlords must take against tenants prior to, and during, court proceedings before the latter will evict tenants and their families.
Under the amended Coronavirus Act 2020, which came into force for England
(but not Wales or Scotland) on 29th August 2020, periods for notices served by Landlords on their Tenants under Sections 8 and 21 of the Housing Act 1988 have been changed and are essentially now longer than they were until March 2020, when the national lockdown first started. Such notices, designed to terminate residential tenancies on a no-fault basis (Section 21) or a tenant’s breach of the Tenancy Agreement (Section 8), cover most

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