In recently typical timing by government, late Friday afternoon, the regulations which make the changes for increasing the length of notices to six months in England were published. The regulations are The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020.

The regulations are extremely complex so below is just the parts we think are most likely to affect subscribers. At the bottom are a couple of links to more in-depth articles if required.

Section 21 Notice

Starting with the section 21 notice as that’s quite straightforward:

  • six months notice required (changed from three months)
  • validity period extended to 10 months (so retaining 4 months after expiry to use)

The prescribed form 6A is amended to simply change the words “three months” to “six months” in three places within the form.

Update 3 September 2020: a new prescribed form has been published by way of The Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) (England) (Amendment) and Suspension (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020. Rather than changes to the wording, a whole new form is simply prescribed. This new form of notice must be used from 2 September 2020 onwards. This means between 29 August and 1 September 2020 one form of notice was required, changing to the next new one from 2 September. That being said, it’s probable any 6A notice used between these dates are likely to be okay because the form would likely be “substantially to the same effect”. The possession wizard has been updated with the new section 21.

Section 8 Notice

The section 8 notice is much more complex as certain grounds have been suspended from the Coronavirus Act meaning that these grounds revert back to pre-Covid rules. Furthermore, other grounds have had their timings changed.

However, in the most part, the notice required will be six months. There are some exceptions, the most notable of which is if the tenant is six months or more in arrears, in which case, the notice can be reduced to four weeks.

Below is a summary of the main grounds required for subscribers and available within the possession wizard:

Ground 1, landlord requires property for own use – 6 months notice

Ground 7, death of tenant – 3 months notice

Grounds 8, 10 and 11, Rent arrears

  • if the tenant is less than six months rent in arrears, six months notice required
  • if the tenant is more than or equal to six months arrears, four weeks notice required

Ground 12, breach of tenancy (not rent) – six months notice

Ground 14, anti social behaviour – no notice period but must be given before proceedings commenced so should be at least 4 days for service and delivery.

Please see this useful table for all grounds on the .gov website.

Commencement

Above applies to all section 21 and 8 notices served on or after 29 August 2020 until the end of March.

Useful Links

Understanding the possession action process: A guide for private landlords in England and Wales

You can read the government announcement about the changes here.

For a full list of all grounds and respective notice periods, please see this useful article.

In addition, you can see this useful article which also includes other types of tenancy such as Rent Act and secure.