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Coronavirus Act 2020: Residential Tenancies Changes to notice requirements

Posted on 2nd April 2020

By Laura Smallwood

The Coronavirus Act 2020, which came into force on 25th March, introduces restrictions on landlords seeking to obtain possession of residential premises. The provisions, contained in Schedule 29 of the Act, apply for the duration of the ‘relevant period’, defined as 26th March to 30th September 2020, subject to possible extension.

A minimum of three months’ notice
In essence the Schedule extends the period of notice to be given by landlords before commencing proceedings against residential tenants, so that generally now at least three months’ notice will be required. (There is also power to extend this period if necessary).

The requirement applies to:
● notice seeking possession under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 in the case of assured tenancies;
● notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 in the case of assured shorthold tenancies;
● notice to quit in respect of protected tenancies under the Rent Act 1977 and and a new notice of intention to commence possession proceedings in relation to statutory tenancies. In the case of a statutory tenancy, section 3(4B) inserted in the 1977 Act allows proceedings to be commenced notwithstanding non-compliance with the notice provisions (including duration of the notice) if the court considers it just and equitable to dispense with the requirement to comply;
● notices relating to termination of secure, flexible, introductory and demoted tenancies under the Housing Acts 1985 and 1996.

Existing notices
These provisions apply to notices served from 26th March, meaning presumably that notices served prior to this date are unaffected and remain valid. However, in the light of Practice Direction 51Z staying all proceedings for possession for 90 days from 27th March, the prospect of any hearings taking place in the near future must be limited.

 

If you require advice, or representation, in a claim relating to land or property you can instruct Laura Smallwood by contacting her clerks on 01483 539131 or emailing them at clerks@guildfordchambers.com

 

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