6-Month Notice Periods for Private Landlords in England

By Katie Todd

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Government Announces 6-Month Notice Periods and Eviction ‘Ban’ Extension

September 1, 2020 Katie Todd 4 Comments

The government have extended the stay on possession proceedings and increased eviction notice periods to 6 months.

Extended stay on possession proceedings

On Friday 21st August, the government made a last-minute decision to extend the eviction ban until 20th September 2020.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP says the extension will help “support renters over winter” and will “support landlords to progress the priority cases” once the courts reopen.

Many in the industry are furious at the government’s sudden U-turn. Agents and landlords were preparing eviction paperwork ready for the end of the ban, only for it to be extended another month.

Whilst many landlords and agents suspected the government would make a quick change, it was hoped that any possession proceedings involving rent arrears built up before the pandemic would still be allowed to go ahead.

Paul Shamplina of Landlord Action states: “I do not believe enough consideration has been given to people in these set of circumstances and perhaps rather than a blanket ban, existing cases should have been allowed to restart as planned”.

Court proceedings after 20th September

Unless there is yet another extension, court proceedings should resume on 20th September 2020.

The process for evictions has undergone some changes to help ease the “increasing volume” of evictions expected after the 6-month ban.

These changes include “reactivation notices” for those who wish to resume halted proceedings and the requirement to provide courts with information regarding how the tenant has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

View the full changes to eviction proceedings in our previous article.

The government says they have made these changes with “practical issues” in mind and hope to “promote best practice and consistency […] in the continuing context of the pandemic and the economic situation”.

6-month eviction notice periods

The government have also introduced 6-month notice periods in England.

Effective from 29th August, landlords must provide at least 6 months’ notice prior to seeking possession through the courts, including Section 21 evictions and rent arrears under 6 months.

The new legislation applies to both private and social rented sectors and to all new notices, but not to any notices issued before the legislation comes into force (29th August).

Notices served on and before 28th August are not affected by these changes, and must be at least 3 months.

Exemptions to 6-month notice periods

To help landlords in the worst cases, the government have provided some exemptions to the 6-month notice periods:

  • Anti-social behaviour (now 4 weeks’ notice)
  • Domestic abuse (now 2 to 4 weeks’ notice)
  • False statement (now 2 to 4 weeks’ notice)
  • Over 6 months’ accumulated rent arrears (now 4 weeks’ notice)
  • Breach of immigration rules ‘Right to Rent’ (now 3 months’ notice)

Our fixed-fee rental plans include £100,000 of Legal Expenses Cover – starting from £39 a month (inc VAT).

6-month notices in Scotland and Wales

In Wales, eviction notice periods have been extended to 6 months until 30th September 2020.

With England implementing their extension until March 2021, the Welsh government could push this date back further in the weeks to come.

In Scotland, The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 protects tenants from any eviction action and extends notice periods to 6 months.

Industry thoughts

“The government’s last-minute U-turn is extremely frustrating for landlords and letting agents”.

“Throwing 6-month notice periods into the mix was yet another blindsided blow for the PRS, but hopefully, the announced exemptions will be a starting point for landlords dealing with the worst-case scenarios”.

Jonathan Daines, CEO and Founder of LettingaProperty.com

“Private landlords cannot be expected to foot the bill for government failure. There must now be a plan to support households to pay their bills and to compensate landlords fully for their lost income”.

“Only this will give both tenants and landlords security and reduce the risk of widespread tenancy failure”.

Ben Beadle, CEO of National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA)

“Unfortunately, staggered announcements and last-minute legislation fail to consider the practical implications and knock-on effects for agents as businesses who manage multiple tenancies”.

Long-term confidence and investment in the private rented sector are vital as the sector continues to house the nation”.

Timothy Douglas, Campaigns and Policy Manager of ARLA Propertymark

What are thoughts on the latest government changes to eviction proceedings and notice periods? Let us know in the comments below.

About Katie Todd

Katie is LettingaProperty.com's Digital Content Editor. Joining the company in September 2019, Katie edits and manages the Landlord Blog, oversees our social media channels and works with the team on in-house projects and marketing strategies. To put it plainly, if we need help with words - Katie's our go-to.

4 Comments

    September 10, 2020 REPLY

    Should I be considering giving section 21 notice on the day tenants move in for a 6 month let? If they are good tenants it seems a shame to keep to the 6 months with no extension. This does not seem ideal for landlords or tenants. Perhaps I should start doing shorter one month lets?

    September 1, 2020 REPLY

    It is now time to lobby the goverment unremittingly to underline fact that for many landlords their single property is their pension!

    September 1, 2020 REPLY

    There may be some merit in protecting trenants from eviction but not at landlords’ expense. If this is a social/society matter, it should be for society to fund any changes to protect landlords who entered into contract in good faith. Further, it is outrageous that where proceedings were started and eviction notices issued, where there was blame, that they were suspended not once, but now twice (and maybe more?). My son and fiance are in a third-floor studio with a family with young children and a visiting teenager immediately above, creating noise eg bouncing balls on the wooden floor at 01.00, food blenders during the night. My son has been threatened with violence. The Council will not issue a noise abatement order without direct evidence, but will not send anyone in because of C19 to get that evidence. My son and his fiance are both suffering mentally after a year of sleep disruption, and are both on medication/anti-depressants. They have followed correct procedures to the letter – thier own landlord, other tenants’ landlord, letting agents, block managers, Council – and everyone seems powerless. Fault evictions should proceed as quickly as possible, but alas CAB, Council, Shelter all side with tenants and against the landlords, andvising them to stay put until they are physically homeless so that Councils do not have to rehome until the last moment (ie when enforcement officers are involved – but how can they become involved when Courts are closed?)

    What a shambles.

    September 1, 2020 REPLY

    My property portfolio of around 40 properties have mortgages that come to their end throughout 2021. This new 6 month notice is going to mean that I cannot get vacant possession to sell some of them in time to repay the mortgage. What will happen? I’ve planned my departure from renting and always paid in full my mortgages, but i could now be in default?

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