The government has dropped another of its regular end-of-the-week private rental sector legal bombshells following a sudden alteration to the legislation underpinning Section 8 eviction notices
Both Landlords, agents and their solicitors will from Tuesday May 4th onwards have to include details of the governments recently-introduced ‘breathing space’ debt scheme within paperwork when seeking to gain possession of a property, or risk the eviction being rejected.
Announced last summer, the Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space) gives someone in problem debt the right to legal protections from their creditors for up to 60 days.
These regulations come into force on Tuesday, which is why housing minister Christopher Pincher has now inserted an amendment into The Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) (Moratorium Debt) (Consequential Amendment) (England) Regulations 2021.
“Anyone who serves a notice using the incorrect template runs the risk of having their case thrown out on a technicality,” says Tim Frome of Landlord Action.
“With six-month notice periods in place at the moment this could be a very expensive mistake.
“This further highlights why landlords should use a Solicitors Regulation Authority regulated and authorised law firm such as Landlord Action to serve possession notices.”
Mike Morgan, Legal Division Manager at HF Assist, adds: “We have taken a number of calls on our HF Assist phone lines about the requirements set out in the Debt Respite Scheme regulations.
“The basic position is that if a tenant has a qualifying debt, such as rent arrears, they can see an FCA or local authority authorised debt advisor and apply for a debt moratorium.
“This gives them an eight-week breathing space from being chased for the amount owed while they work with the debt adviser to restructure their finances to pay their debts. The tenant should still pay their rent during this period.”
Please note: The update to the regulations posted online today (30th April) included an incorrect template Form 3. MHCLG has been alerted and says the correct one will be live on their website on Tuesday.
Read a free guide to the Breathing Space regulations.