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Important Changes to Evictions and Notice Periods

Published: 17/05/2021

Alongside last week’s confirmation of the change to Coronavirus restrictions across the UK, the UK government have made an announcement to the property market.  From the 1st June, notice periods in England will reduce to four months, from the temporary six month notice period that was introduced in 2020 during the height of the pandemic. This is a welcome step towards the ‘normal’ two-month notice period for any Landlords that are considering ending their current tenancies.

However, notice periods for some specific scenarios will remain lower than four months, such as antisocial behaviour, domestic abuse, death of a tenant or a breach of immigration rules, whereby the Home Office have served appropriate notice on the Landlord. Additionally, where a tenant is owing of less than four months’ rent, the notice period will reduce to two months’ notice.

For those current Landlords who are currently waiting for the expiry of a Section 21 notice in order to gain possession, who may be considering serving a new and shorter notice on their tenants - Robert Bolwell, Heath of the ARLA Propertymark Legal Helpline has advised against this due to a principle in law called ‘estoppel’. This is a principle whereby if the tenant has made plans to vacate in line with the original notice and the deadline is then changed to an earlier date and the tenant incurs inconvenience or expense, this would make the new notice invalid. Therefore, the advice is to continue with the original notice.

The change of legislation also means that the current ban on evictions where they are being enforced by a bailiff will end on the 31st May. The new measures form part of the Government’s phased approach and we are not expecting to see another amendment to notice periods until at least October 2021.