As someone who specialises in tenant evictions, the past 19 – 20 months have been somewhat of a whirlwind.
Before Covid-19, Landlords were able to serve their tenants with either a Section 21 (Form 6a), a Section 8 (Form 3) or in some cases both together.
The Section 21 notice is a no-fault notice whereby the landlord wishes to end the tenancy. There could be many reasons for this, such as needing the property back to either move back in, sell or to release the mortgage due to financial constraints. If such a notice was served, this gave the tenant two months to vacate the property and, if they did not leave, the landlord was then able to issue Possession Proceedings.
A Section 8 notice is a mandatory ground for eviction, meaning that if the tenant was in rent arrears of more than 8 weeks, the landlord was entitled to serve the relevant notice and again if the tenant did not vacate on the date specified in the notice, then Possession Proceedings could begin.
During lockdown, all Notices and Eviction proceedings were placed on hold for a substantial amount of time. That was not to say that a Landlord could not serve a Notice, but proceeding to Court would not be permitted as it once had been. In our experience, some landlords have found themselves in extreme panic and financial difficulty. Most of the landlords we act for were finding that tenants stopped paying rent and failed to communicate with them. They themselves were facing repossession by Banks or Mortgage Companies, or suffering financial difficulty as, for some, the rent may have been their only source of income.
Needless to say, due to the problems for landlords and tenants during the pandemic, there has been a large backlog of evictions within the court system. However, for our landlords there is now some relief.
From 1st October 2021, the rules revert back to what they were and landlords can now give tenants two months’ notice again to request their property back after the end of the tenancy. If the property is in arrears, the landlord can now give the usual 14 day notice requesting the property back.
So, is this a sign of “normal” things returning?