NOTICE PERIODS & COVID19 – October Update

From 1 June 2021, notice periods reduced to four months in most circumstances, including for cases where there were less than four months of unpaid rent. Notice periods for the most serious cases, as set out above, remained lower. Notice periods for cases where there were less than four months of unpaid rent, further reduced to two months’ notice from 1 August 2021. For landlords seeking possession on the grounds of the death of the tenant, or due to their tenant having ‘no right to rent’ the minimum notice periods also returned to their pre-COVID levels from 1 June 2021 of two months and two weeks respectively.

From 1 October 2021, all notice periods will return to the pre-Covid lengths.

Section 21 notices requiring possession of a property under an assured shorthold tenancy

Landlords can only use a Section 21 notice to ask their tenants to leave their property:

  • If the notice expires at or after the end of the fixed term.
  • During a tenancy with no fixed end date – known as a ‘periodic’ tenancy.

Where a landlord gave a tenant a valid Section 21 notice between 29 August 2020 and 31 May 2021 inclusive, it can be relied upon to commence proceedings for:

  • 10 months from the date it is given to the tenant, where Section 21(4D) applies; or
  • 4 months from the date specified in the notice as the date after which possession is required, if Section 21(4E) applies.

Where a landlord gave a tenant a valid Section 21 notice between 1 June 2021 and 30 September 2021, it can be relied upon to commence proceedings for:

  • 8 months from the date it is given to the tenant, where Section 21 (4D) applies; or
  • 4 months from the date specified in the notice as the date after which possession is required, if Section 21 (4E) applies.

Where a landlord gives a tenant a valid Section 21 notice on or after 1 October 2021, it can be relied upon to commence proceedings the notice will be valid for:

  • 6 months from the date it is given to the tenant, where Section (4D) applies; or
  • 4 months from the date specified in the notice as the date after which possession is required, if Section 21(4E) applies.

Section 21 (4D) applies where the tenancy granted is/was a) a fixed term tenancy or b) a periodic tenancy under the terms of which the tenant is entitled to no more than 2 months’ notice. Section 21 (4E) applies where the tenancy granted is a periodic tenancy under the terms of which the tenant is entitled to more than 2 months’ notice.

A landlord cannot use a Section 21 notice if any of the following apply:

  • It is less than four months since the tenant entered into occupation as the tenant of the property.
  • The property is a house in multiple occupation and requires a licence under Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004 S55 and that licence has not been obtained. Unless a temporary exemption applies, an application for a licence has been made and is still effective or the landlord has notified their local authority that they are seeking a temporary exemption and that notification is still effective. (This applies even if a licence application or notification could not be made due to COVID-19 outbreak).
  • The property is other residential accommodation and requires a licence under Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004 S79 and that licence has not been obtained. Unless a temporary exemption applies, an application for a licence has been made and is still effective or the landlord has notified their local authority that they are seeking a temporary exemption and that notification is still effective (this applies even if a licence application or notification could not be made due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak).
  • The tenancy was granted on or after 6 April 2007 or is a statutory periodic tenancy that arose on or after that date and the landlord has not complied with the relevant tenant deposit protection legislation.
  • The council has served an improvement notice or an emergency remedial notice in the last 6 months.
  • Guidance describes on measures that will protect tenants from eviction when they raise a complaint about the condition of their home.

For tenancies granted on or after 1 October 2015, a landlord also cannot use a Section 21 notice if they have not given their tenants copies of:

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