The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies and Notices) (Amendment and Suspension) (England) Regulations 2021, new Regulations laid before Parliament on 8 September 2021, has again changed the period of notice that a landlord must give to the tenant before commencing a claim for possession. These changes came into effect from 1 October 2021.
These Regulations amend and suspend various provisions to Schedule 29 of the Coronavirus Act 2020.
The key changes
The notice periods given to the tenant before a claim for possession can be issued have now reverted back to the pre-pandemic notice periods, as per Regulation 3. Full details can be found on the gov.uk website but for your information, the notice periods for the common grounds used by social landlords are as follows:
- Section 21 notices requiring possession of a property under an assured shorthold tenancy – tenants are entitled to at least two months’ notice before the landlord is able to apply to the Court for a possession order.
- Section 8 notices seeking possession of a property under an assured or assured shorthold tenancy depending on Ground for possession used-
- Ground 7 – death of a tenant – 2 months
- Ground 7A – serious anti-social behaviour – 4 weeks (periodic tenancy) or 1 month (fixed-term tenancy)
- Ground 8 – serious rent arrears at time of service of notice and possession proceedings – 2 weeks
- Ground 9 – alternative accommodation available – 2 months
- Ground 10 – Some rent arrears at the time of service of notice and possession proceedings – 2 weeks
- Ground 11 – persistent late payment of rent – 2 weeks
- Ground 12 – breach of tenancy agreement – 2 weeks
- Ground 14 – Nuisance/annoyance, illegal/immoral use of property – None – proceedings may be commenced immediately after service of notice
- Section 83 notices seeking possession of a property let under a secure tenancy-
- Ground 2 – Nuisance/annoyance, illegal/immoral use of property – None – proceedings may be commenced immediately after service of notice
- Section 83ZA – serious anti-social behaviour – at least 4 weeks
- All other Grounds – 4 weeks
The new Regulations also introduce new simplified prescribed forms i.e. notice of seeking possession under section 8 Housing Act 1988, notice requiring possession under section 21(1) and (4) of the Housing Act 1988 and notice of seeking termination of a fixed term tenancy and recovery of possession under section 83 of the Housing Act 1985 to reflect the change in notice periods.
You will also see that these new forms have been simplified, with the Section 8 form being renamed as a ‘Notice of intention to begin proceedings for possession’. These forms should be used as of 1 October 2021 and are available on the Government website.
Other things to consider
The Government has retained its emergency powers to impose longer notice periods until 25 March 2022, which is set out in Regulation 2. For reference, you can view the new changes to Schedule 29 of the Coronavirus Act here.
It is important to bear in mind that the Regulations, while they have changed the notice periods, it has not affected the lifespan on the Section 8 or Section 83 notice which can still be relied on for up to 12 months after they are served. Any claim based on a Section 21 notice must be issued within 6 months of the date of service of the notice.
For more information, please contact Amirah Adekunle-Fowora.