Alteration made by the government to a key form that landlords use to evict tenants are inaccurate and ‘do not comply with the law’ a leading legal expert has claimed.

On Friday LandlordZONE reported that legislation covering Section 8 notices had been amended to require landlords to include multiple references to and provisions for the ‘breathing space’ debt respite scheme from today onwards within Form 3.

At the time we flagged up to the housing ministry that many legal experts within the sector were concerned that the update to this template was inaccurate.

The ministry subsequently said it would update the guidance in time for today’s deadline.

Not compliant

But leading property lawyer David Smith (pictured below) of JMW Solicitors says the now updated template does not comply with the law despite his flagging up the problem to the ministry.

“The new form is meant to have its first and second bullet points in the ‘earliest date proceedings can be brought section’ replaced with five bullet points,” he says.

“This hasn’t happened. The first three bullet points have been replaced and one of the other bullet points has been interpolated in between the five new ones. It makes more sense that way but it’s not what the legislation requires.”

The Debt Respite or ‘Breathing Space’ Scheme is designed to protect a variety of people who may have built up problem debt caused by the pandemic.

As the form template sets out, the scheme impacts both the evictions process and how landlords interact with guarantors.


  1. Unfortunately I’ve concluded that the government are making all these new rules up as they go along. I don’t have any faith that there’s a real plan, rather it’s a situation where the government realise there’s an avalanche of evictions coming and they will do whatever they can to delay this.

    Back in the real world you can’t force anyone to provide free housing indefinitely which has been what the government actions over the last year have effectively done . The government should have underwritten any non paying tenants rather than leaving the PRS to pick up this cost, and in doing so maintained confidence in the sector.

    Maybe the long term plan is to rid the market of small landlords and replace this with corporate finance but I don’t see this happening quickly enough to prevent significant increases in homelessness.

    • The Govt plan IS to get rid of small LL.
      This process started in 2015 with the bonkers retrospective S24.

      All following regulations are designed to get rid of all mortgaged LL.

      Then they will go for mortgage free LL.

      Govt hopes …………….one day to have got rid of all small LL to leave large corporates who will be only too willing to contribute to Tory Party funds.

      When that day eventually arrives tenants will find they are in a thoroughly miserable situation with only corporates to provide accommodation.

      Rents will be high.
      Tenants WON’T have any choice in the matter as there will be no small LL competition to the big corporates.

      Tenants will rue the day the small LL is no more.

      They can blame the idiot Shelter and GR for that!

  2. If the government want to provide housing free to people then they should do that. It can’t be right to force private landlords to do this with no discussion. Seems like coercion to me.

    • Govt can do what it likes to LL.

      There is NO electoral disadvantage if the Tories abuse LL.

      So Govt will continue to abuse LL until LL get fed up and sell up…………..which is EXACTLY what the Govt wants!!!


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