Landlords with court orders awaiting action from bailiffs can enforce them from June 1 as the government lifts the coronavirus stay on evictions. Notice periods are also set to be reduced from June 1.
County court bailiffs are gearing up for a massive influx of work, but it’s doubtful they have the manpower to deal with the backlog for several months.
No evictions are expected before the middle of June as bailiffs will give 14 days’ notice before acting unless serious circumstances apply.
Evictions will not proceed if someone in the home is suffering from coronavirus or self-isolating.
Housing Minister Christopher Pincher has also promised coronavirus safeguards for tenants in England will ease from June 1 with phased notice periods for Section 21 and Section 8 notices to quit easing but not returning to normal until October.
- 1 Section 21 notice periods
- 2 Section 8 notice periods
- 3 What the housing minister says
- 4 Evictions in Wales
- 5 Evictions in Scotland
- 6 Landlord repossessions take more than a year
- 7 Landlord Eviction FAQ
- 7.1 Where can landlords find official guidance on COVID-19 evictions?
- 7.2 Is a COVID-19 statement still required by the courts?
- 7.3 When will the courts hear a possession claim?
- 7.4 I want to issue a Section 21 notice – when’s the best time?
- 7.5 What about evicting a tenant in Wales?
- 7.6 More information
Section 21 notice periods
Section 21 notice periods are:
|Until May 31||6 months|
|June 1 – September 30||4 months|
|October 1 onwards||2 months*|
*The minister suggested that the Section 21 notice period will return to two months in October, but this is yet to be confirmed.
Section 8 notice periods
Notice periods for Section 8 evictions are also easing.
Any notice periods that are currently six months will shorten to four months in line with Section 21 notices.
These notice periods that involve more serious circumstances will also reduce between June 1 until September 30 to:
- Anti-social behaviour (Immediate to four weeks’ notice)
- False statement (Two to four weeks’ notice)
- Four months or more accumulated rent arrears (Four weeks’ notice)
- Breach of immigration ‘Right to Rent’ rules (Two weeks’ notice)
- Death of a tenant (Two months’ notice)
If a tenant owes fewer than four months rent, from August 1, the notice reduces to two.
What the housing minister says
Landlords are still expected to include a COVID-19 impact report on the tenant with any notice to quit.
“From the beginning of the pandemic, we have taken unprecedented action to protect renters and help keep them in their homes,” said Pincher.
“As COVID restrictions are eased in line with the Roadmap out of lockdown, we will ensure tenants continue to be supported with longer notice periods, while also balancing the need for landlords to access justice.
“Crucial financial support also remains in place including the furlough scheme and uplift to Universal Credit.”
The minister also announced a White Paper for publication in the autumn that will include proposals to scrap Section 21 evictions and set-up lifetime deposits for tenants that move with them when they leave a rented home.
Evictions in Wales
The six-month notice period remains in force in Wales until June 30 for Section 21 and Section 8 evictions for all but the most serious cases of rent arrears and anti-social behaviour.
Updated guidelines are expected soon.
Evictions in Scotland
A six-month notice to quit safeguards tenancies in Scotland until September 30.
Landlord repossessions take more than a year
Landlords must wait nearly 58 weeks to evict tenants from a buy to let home, according to the latest Ministry of Justice data for the first three months of the year.
Only 262 landlord possessions went ahead during in Q1 2021
Last year, landlords waited 21.1 weeks to repossess a home.
The MoJ warns that the courts will not process cases at normal levels until coronavirus restrictions end.
All landlord claims before the courts have dropped significantly, the data shows
In Q1, private landlords laid 2,833 claims before the courts – 44% of the total with the rest made by social landlords.
Repossessions were carried out in 109 of 333 local authority areas, with the most in Exeter, Ealing in West London, and Lincoln.
Landlord Eviction FAQ
Deadline dates for tenants to quit rented homes are often confusing – and the coronavirus pandemic has done nothing to ease the stress.
Below are some answers to the most asked questions from landlords, but always discuss your options with a professional property lawyer.
Where can landlords find official guidance on COVID-19 evictions?
The Ministry of Housing publishes technical guidance online that is updated as the nation passes different stages on the government road-map out of the pandemic.
Another guide called Understanding the possession action process: A guide for private landlords in England and Wales was last updated on April 30 and gives an overview of the current eviction process.
Is a COVID-19 statement still required by the courts?
Yes. The courts will need a COVID-19 statement as part of the eviction package when taking a Section 21 or Section 8 claim before a judge.
The statement should set out how the tenant has been affected by coronavirus. The statement should have a rent account for the previous two years attached.
If the statement and account are not provided before a hearing, the judge can adjourn the application.
When will the courts hear a possession claim?
The timelines vary from court to court and depend on the volume of cases and the number of judges and staff available to process an application.
If a landlord has a possession order already, the earliest likely date of execution is June 14, as bailiffs must give 14 days’ notice of action to tenants from June 1.
I want to issue a Section 21 notice – when’s the best time?
If you issue a Section 21 notice in May, the date for a tenant to quit the property is six months away – some time in November.
If you wait until between June 1 and September 30, the eviction date will fall between September 2021 and January 2022.
Assuming the process returns to normal on October 1, the deadline returns to two months, which at the earliest would be a date in January 2022.
What about evicting a tenant in Wales?
The Welsh Government has a six month deadline in place until June 30 for Section 8 and Section 21 notices unless urgent circumstances apply.