Landlords: Less than two weeks until eviction notice period shortens


During the pandemic, the government placed a ban on tenant evictions. Now the rules are changing, so here’s what landlords need to know.

Over the past 18 months, the government has imposed restrictions on tenant evictions in the private rented sector. In an effort to protect tenants through the coronavirus outbreak, landlords have been either banned from evicting or have had to serve greater notice periods to those living in their properties.

From 1st October, however, the rules will return to what they were pre-pandemic. This means landlords will be able to give tenants a two-month notice period, using either Section 21 or Section 8. The change is likely to make the sector more appealing to landlords as it offers them more protection in the unlikely event of having problematic tenants.

Under the new rules, tenants who have severe rent arrears may receive just two weeks’ notice before eviction. For more details on evicting tenants, see the government website.

Measures will be under review

Since June this year, the notice period for eviction has been four months. In serious cases of rent arrears or antisocial behaviour, this period was two months. Before this point, the government imposed eviction notice periods of six months. Again, there were exceptions for serious cases. The rules served to deter landlords from beginning eviction proceedings.

A statement from the Ministry of Housing pointed out that the government will continue to assess the situation. This applies until 25th March 2022, according to a clause in the guidance.

“We intend to retain the power to implement these measures again in the case that the public health situation worsens and these measures are required again.”

Landlords and tenants have worked together

On the whole, despite difficulties on both sides of the system, landlords and tenants have worked together through the pandemic. Many landlords have offered tenants rent holidays or temporary lower rents.

Isobel Thomson, chief executive of property industry organisation safeagent, says: “We welcome the clarity from government regarding notice periods and the return to a reasonable and fair timescale for landlords to be able to obtain possession of their property where appropriate.

“We feel that recognition should be given to the proven ability of landlords, tenants and agents who during the pandemic have worked together to maintain tenancies.”

“When notice periods return to pre-COVID levels we don’t believe there will be any less appetite to sustain those tenancies or that we’ll see a sudden spike in evictions.”

Protect the industry

Many industry professionals believe the government should now do more to support landlords. While the focus has been on protecting tenants through the crisis, some feel landlords have taken a hit.

Mark Hayward, chief policy advisor at Propertymark, said: “Letting agents and landlords have worked hard to maintain tenancies throughout the pandemic. It is pleasing that the UK government has kept to its word and given the sector ample notice prior to notice periods returning to pre-COVID lengths in England from 1 October 2021.

“Looking ahead there is still a hangover from the court suspension. Some tenants have been able to rack up months of arrears with no action and some landlords have sold properties due to a busy sales market because of the stamp duty holiday.”

Hayward believes the government should now “support letting agents and landlords to continue to house the nation”.

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Landlords: Less than two weeks until eviction notice period shortens


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