The government has confirmed that notice periods for evictions in England will return to normal on October 1st, as planned, but has warned that they could be curtailed again if the pandemic were to worsen once more.
This means landlords giving notice of their intention to evict via either a Section 21 or Section 8 notice will need to give two months’ notice, down from six months prior to October 1st.
It has now been 18 months since the government introduced emergency measures as part of the Coronavirus Act 2020 that protect renters by requiring landlords to provide longer notice periods when seeking possession of residential property in the social and private rental sectors.
These were modified several times during the long months of the pandemic depending on the reasons for the eviction.
A statement from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government says: “While these measures were appropriate at the height of the pandemic, these restrictions could only ever be temporary. Returning notice periods to their pre-COVID lengths from 1 October will allow landlords to repossess their property where necessary.
“However, we intend to retain the power to implement these measures again in the case that the public health situation worsens and these measures are required again.”
The government has layed a statutory instrument in parliament to return notice periods to their pre-Covid terms, but has inserted a clause that will allow them to be reinstated up until 25th March 2022 ‘should the future public health situation warrant a further extension ’.
Paul Shamplina (pictured) , founder of Landlord Action, says: “We have had numerous landlords contact us who are holding back on serving Section 21 notices, counting down the days till the 1st Oct when finally we will all have normality when serving section 21 Form 6a notices.
“During the week commencing 1st October we will be serving above-average numbers of notices on tenants. There has been a massive rise in landlords telling us they want possession so that they can sell up. But how well the courts deal with a huge rise in section 21 claims and how quickly they are dealt with is another matter.”
Isobel Thomson (pictured), Chief Executive of property industry organisation safeagent, says: “We welcome the clarity from Government regarding notice periods and the return to a reasonable and fair timescale for landlords to be able to obtain possession of their property where appropriate.
“We feel that recognition should be given to the proven ability of landlords, tenants and agents who during the pandemic have worked together to maintain tenancies.
“When notice periods return to pre-COVID levels we don’t believe there will be any less appetite to sustain those tenancies or that we’ll see a sudden spike in evictions.”