Coronavirus Act 2020 (England and Wales) Housing Leases – Eviction Protection (June 2021) | Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner


What has changed?

At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government sought to ensure that tenants, especially vulnerable and low-income tenants, received the support they needed to weather the pandemic by imposing restrictions to ensure they didn’t do so due to The effects of the coronavirus threaten eviction or homelessness.

These restrictions will gradually be relaxed with the introduction of the vaccination program.

The government is taking a step-by-step approach to easing restrictions on actions landlords can take to evacuate tenants.

What’s next?

Notice periods

  • From June 1, 2021, the minimum period for regular eviction notices according to § 21 (regardless of fault) was shortened from 6 months to 4 months. *
  • From August 1st, 2021, the notice period is reduced to 2 months if the rental arrears are less than 4 months (until then the notice period is 4 months). *
  • Starting October 1, 2021 (subject to the success of the government’s general easing roadmap), pre-pandemic notice periods will resume.

* The notice period for the most serious or urgent cases is still shorter, e.g. 4 weeks notice if at least 4 months of rent arrears have accrued.

Evictions by bailiffs

To protect vulnerable households who could lose their homes during the pandemic and also to guard against the transmission of COVID-19, the government imposed a ban on bailiffs enforcing home evictions. That ban was lifted on May 31, 2021 (however, if someone has Covid-19 symptoms or is self-isolating, bailiffs will not take enforcement steps and a new appointment will have to be sought) While councils across the country recognize that the ban cannot go on indefinitely, they are concerned about families becoming homeless and are trying to work with the government on a plan to help and protect households, in so many cases to stay in their homes as possible.

Which apartment tenancies are affected?

The most common tenancies still affected by the extended notice periods (which are gradually returning to pre-pandemic times) are:

  • Leases (Rent Act 1977);
  • Secured Leases (Housing Act 1988); and
  • Secured short term leases (Housing Act 1988) (most tenants have such leases).

What are the effects?

From June 1st, 2021, all terminations of an apartment rental must be given with a notice period of at least 4 months (this corresponds to a reduction of 2 months), except in serious or urgent cases *. Updated regulatory notices must be used.

Cancellations / cancellations of all tenancies can still be delivered, but possession proceedings can only be initiated after the notice period has expired (subject to an extension).

What if I have a possession decision pending execution?

Although foreclosure is now possible (from June 1, 2021), tenants must be notified of the eviction at least 14 days in advance, ie the eviction will take place in mid-June at the earliest (except in most cases). serious circumstances).

You need to make an appointment with the bailiffs for the eviction and we expect a significant backlog as the most urgent cases (involving fraud or anti-social behavior) continue to be prioritized by the courts.

Important to note:

  • Tenants are still liable for their rent.
  • Legal proceedings for possession can be initiated.
  • There is significant support for renters that is government sponsored.
  • Landlords are still required to ensure that the properties meet the required legal standards – urgent, necessary health and safety repairs should be carried out.
  • The government has announced that it will end “no-fault” evictions, which could have a significant impact later this year. A white paper is expected in the fall.

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