Notice periods for residential evictions in England to be reduced to 4 months

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The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) (No 2) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/564) (“the Regulations”) were laid before Parliament on 12 May 2021 and will take effect from 1 June 2021.

Residential evictions in England are currently prohibited until 31 May 2021, and when serving notice on a tenant, landlords are currently required to specify at least 6 months’ notice. This notice requirement was introduced by section 81 and Schedule 29 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, which increased usual notice periods in relation to possession proceedings for certain residential tenancies with the aim of protecting residential tenants from eviction for the "relevant period".

The Regulations, which come into effect on 1 June 2021, extend the “relevant period” from its current 31 May 2021 to 30 September 2021, but reduce the notice period for most residential possession notices to 4 months.

The Regulations maintain the existing exceptions where the grounds of eviction relate to anti-social behaviour, domestic violence or acquiring the tenancy as a result of a false statement.

The Regulations also make specific provisions for notice periods in certain circumstances, where the tenancy is a protected or statutory tenancy under the Rent Act 1977 (RA 1977), a secure, assured or assured shorthold tenancy. The notice periods in relation to these are below:

  • Four weeks’ notice is required where the landlord relies on rent arrears and at least four months' rent is unpaid at the time the notice is served.
  • Four months’ notice is required where the landlord relies on rent arrears and less than four months' rent is unpaid at the time the notice is served. The notice period will be two months for notices served on or after 1 August 2021.
  • Four weeks’ notice is required where the landlord relies on Case 10A in Schedule 2 to the RA 1977, or two weeks if it relies on Ground 7B in Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988 (HA 1988) (no right to rent).
  • Two months’ notice is required where the landlord relies on Ground 7 in Schedule 2 to the HA 1988 (death of tenant).

The period during which the landlord must commence possession proceedings after having served an eviction notice will also be reduced from ten to eight months, starting from the date on which the notice is given.

If you require any advice, please contact a member of our Property Dispute Resolution team.

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