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Can a Landlord evict a Tenant during the Coronavirus Lockdown?

View profile for Giles Dobson
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Can a Landlord successfully evict a Tenant during the Coronavirus Outbreak and Lockdown?

The Government has recognised that the Coronavirus emergency in the UK means that greater protection from eviction is necessary for both individuals and families as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many Tenants have been concerned that they will not have sufficient income to pay their rent on time, or at all, if they have been unable to work or have been furloughed under the Government Job Retention Scheme.

The Government has passed an emergency, but temporary piece of legislation, the Coronavirus Act 2020.  Section 81 of the Act extends statutory notice periods relating to all common forms of Tenancy Agreement (including Assured Shorthold Tenancies, Rent Act 1977 Tenancies and Assured Tenancies).  The notice period must now be “no less than 3 months”.  All Notices (for example under Section 21 for no fault evictions or Section 8 for all fault based evictions) served on Tenants after 26th March 2020 (when the Act became effective) until 30th September 2020 must not expire within a 3 month period.  This extended period applies to whichever ground the Landlord seeks possession under, including rental arrears where normally the notice period can be just 2 weeks.

A further provision within the Act allows the Government to amend this 3 month notice period to 6 months should the Government wish to do so in order to protect tenants’ rights. 

To effect this, the Government have changed the Civil Procedure Rules.  Any proceedings issued after 27th March 2020 for an Order for Possession “are stayed for a period of 90 days”. This means that not only are all current possession proceedings paused for 90 days, there can be no enforcement or possession orders by Landlords during this period. 

 

                                

 

The legislation is designed to give tenants a “breather” if they are unable to pay their rent in full during the Coronavirus crisis.  However, it does not mean that the unpaid rent is written off.  Tenants will remain liable for all outstanding rent under the terms of their Agreement.  Once restrictions on movement are gradually lifted and people can return to work, Landlords will be looking for Tenants to pay any arrears that have accrued. 

The changes to the pre-action protocol will mean that Landlords can only seek possession of properties where Tenants have breached reasonable payment plans in respect of rent arrears.   For many Landlords, the unpaid rent will prove a challenge as not only are Tenants able to avoid possession for the next 3 months (or longer if the period is extended by the Government) the Court system has a significant backlog of possession claims that are already in the system and which have effectively been “paused” by this legislation. Additionally, the Courts are experiencing significant delays generally and any landlord seeking to obtain possession of a property for non-payment of rent going forward will face some significant delays.  Some Landlords may be able to take advantage of the 3 month mortgage payment holiday that is available to Landlords with any mortgage on the property that they let out and Landlords can seek further details on this. Some Landlords have been proactive and have looked to contact Tenants to see if Tenants can pay 80% of their rent now if they are only receiving 80% of their normal salary under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. 

Additionally some Tenants have had their benefits or Universal Credit increased and maybe in a position to pay something rather than nothing.  Constructive dialogue and reasonable payment plans would prove beneficial to both Landlords and Tenants but this should be documented in writing so that there could no confusion as to what has been agreed going forward.

Comments16

    • LockdownGary blake
    • Posted

    I am a key worker who works in a supermarket I am renting somewhere can my landlord kick me during this lockdown even tho I pay my rent not always on time but I pay it 

    • How does the current eviction ban affect my notice to myntenants to terminate our rental agreementEric Sciacaluga
    • Posted

    We have rented our house to tenants for the past 6 1/2 years whilst we toured manila d Europe in our motorhome. A tenancy agreement was raised which gave a termination period of 2 months.

    Due to some medical issues we have now finished our touring and advised our tenants of our wish to terminate the tenancy at the end of July to take effect from 1st October. (We were not aware that the 2 months notice had been raised officially to 3 months). In any case, the tenants - friends - agreed to the termination as put to them. As the deadline draws near, they have suddenly informed me that they can now have 6 months extension as per current government policy.

    we understand, and sympathise with the intention to protect tenants who have lost their jobs during this crisis and who will most certainly be made homeless by eviction. However, this is NOT the case with my tenants who have kept their jobs and are as economically sound as they have always been. They have consistently refused to accept alternative residences and are for want of a better expression, too picky. They have also never missed a payment and do not plan to do so during the ban period. No reql consolation to me as I had given them a very heavily subsidised rent fro  the beginning and this may be the real reason for their insistence to stay for the duration.

    Can you advise whether my circumstances, where it is simply a personal choice by our tenants to not find another abode, are covered by this edict?  my problem is that to all intents and purposes WE are now homeless as we are forced to spend the colder nights in a campervan rather than in our own home.

    thank you for any help offered.

    kind regards

    eric

    • Benefit tenant not paying rentMrs Georgina Cowan
    • Posted

    I have a tenant that has not paid rent since February this year, even though he's still received his rent allowance.  Can I evict him? If so on a section8?

    • Section 21Michael McNicholas
    • Posted

    Hello,

    I wonder if you could help with this matter?

    I have a tenant on an AST who has fallen behind on the rent, not registered with council for payment of council tax and not registered with relevant utility suppliers for gas and electricity. The tenant has been in the property for nine months and the term of the tenancy is due to expire on the 11th September. I have no intention of renewing the tenancy as, although I have sent her two letters, several emails, countless text messages and left a number of voice messages, she refuses to engage in any meaningful form of dialogue to resolve this matter. Due to the Covid 19 situation, do I need to serve three months' notice to the tenant informing them that I do not intend to renew the tenancy when it expires?

    Regards,

    Michael McNicholas

    • Applying to courts for evictionShameem
    • Posted

    We hand delivered a section 21 notice on 10/03/20 giving 3 months notice to vacate by 31st May. 
    we then due to covid extended this to 30 days after the period when the estate agencies opened to view properties.

    house viewings recommenced on 13th May and so we extended the vacation date to 30th June.

    the tenant still hasn't found another property.

    Can we now apply to the courts for the possession order? 
    the tennant isn't in arrears but we have a family member homeless and this is the reason for the ending of the tenancy.

    many thanks for your help

    • landlord wishing to regain possessionCathryn Newbery
    • Posted

    Hi,

    My son's landlord's daughter gave him 2 letters on the 19 March 2020, one giving her permission to take responsibiity of the tenancy and only communicate with her and not him, and the second giving him until 10 May 2020 to vacate the property. If he agreed to that, then she would not pursue him for the rent arrears going back to 2014/15 when my son on Housing Benefit. (the Benefit was about £865 pa short of rent). He was on Housing Benefit for 2 years. The final DWP payment was in August  2015 and my son had paid for that month too! Therefore overpaid in the August!. At no time since this date has my son been asked for the shortfall between the housing benefit payments and the actual rent due. When asked about it at the time, the landlord indicated he was happy not to request more from my son. 

     IN addition she indicated in that letter she would give him back the deposit he had paid of £500 and a reference. He had lived in property for 12 years. Lockdown then took place, and she extended the leave time until 10th June.  Because of the shutdown and offices closed, my son had difficulty in finding new tenancy.He kept the daughter up to date with circumstances, and her response has been 'just keep me updated'. He has now found a new property and the papers are being prepared with his anticipated date of move 23rd June. However, the past three weeks have impossible to live with. The daughter has employed various builders working around the adjoined house (which was vacated recently) including digging trenches all around the entrance to my son's home, water and electricity being cut off,  leaving diggers parked so close to his building unable to open windows, or open his front door (only way of egress) and very noisy knocking of walls down etc etc. This has been for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.  He eventually complained about it on the 12th June, as he had reached the end of his tether.  The daughter has now threatened him with court eviction if he does not vacate by the 19th, and will take him through the courts for the £1500 she alleges he owes.  

    Please can you let me know whether the landlord can evict him on the 19th June in this way? 

    Can she pursue him for the 'alleged' rent arrears going back to 2015 when her father had already agreed on this.

    She had already moved the rental payment date from the 24th to the 12th - confused about that - if it had been kept to the 23rd then he would have until then to leave. It goes without saying, my son has not paid the rent she says was due on the 12th? 

    His new landlady has very given him keys to the new property, in order that he can take possessions over there, which is very kind of her, but he does not wish to move in until all the paperwork and money paid to the Agency dealing with it. They are awaiting the certificates necessary to conclude this.

     

    Please can you advise? I am sorry it is longwinded !

     

    Cathryn

     

     

    • 're section 8 eviction notice Jodie Branley
    • Posted

    My landlord is issuing me with a section 8 eviction notice tomorrow due to rent arrears does it still stand she has to give me 3months notice due.to government changing the rules due to the coronavirus and lockdown?

    • Landlord eviction noticeMark Anthony Hanley
    • Posted

    Dear Keneth,

     

    My landlord has e-mailed me that she wants me to leave my room by the 1st July 2019. We discussed this and we agreed that I would leave by the end of July if I didn't find alternative accommodation beforehand. The Term of Tenancy was from 30/12/2019 for 12 months. I have always paid my rent on time and I have been respectable and friendly to all my house mates. He reason was that the actual owner of the house only wants Air B and B tenants from now on.The manager actually rents the property from someone else and the tenants pay the rent to her. I was being reasonable by agreeing verbally to the end of July even though this conflicts with my actual contract. I am a teacher who is in full time employment.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.  

     

    Thank you in advance.

     

    Mark A Hanley

    • Landlord Ray Hamilton
    • Posted

    Hi, 

    I currently rent out my property and served noticed to my tenant in March, this was paused due to the lockdown, when can I reinstate the notice period. I have been travelling and returned home expecting to return to my home. I am currently living with my daughter. 

    Thanks 

    Ray 

    • Eviction Ellen zhang
    • Posted

    Hi, my tenants haven’t pay rent for two months. And they have no money to pay in June too because they don’t have job. Tenants said they may not able to make payment until End of Sep. After Sep, no sure. If they still can’t find job, no money to pay rent. Under this situation, can I eviction tenants from house? When should I start the process. If you help me to dealing the case, how much will be cost. Thanks, Ellen 

    • Tenant EvictionNick Groves
    • Posted

    I tried to evict tenant by S21 but housing benefit told tenant to remain until I evict. Housing pay me direct so tenant not in arrears.

    Reason I need to evict is that tenant is in breach of her contract she has allowed son to move in to one bed flat, he has allowed others to also, there are broken windows not repaired and other damage to property. There is also illegal dealing from property and son is always in trouble with police and they are being a nuisance to neighbouring flats.

    Do i now need to issue a section 8 and can I do this whilst the Corona Virus block is on ?

     

    • EVICTING TENANTkevin gallagher
    • Posted

    Can a tenant be evicted during this current Covid 19.  The tenant does not have a tenancy agreement in place and he pays £90 a week for a room in the flat.

     

    • Correct Landlords Notice Trevor
    • Posted

     Your article is good but it does not cover of the position if a section 21 notice is served before the lockdown i.e. before 26th of March 2020 and expired during the lockdown period. If a two month notice was served under section 21 beforehand and expired during the lockdown cannot tenant still claim that he should be entitled to 3 months notice so the two month section 21 notice needs to be re-served as a three month notice almost here now leave as he is passed the expiry date, or evicted by court order?

    • Can I serve a 3month notice on my tenant now?Dennis Royle
    • Posted

    I am being told by my letting agent that I cannot serve a 3 month notice to quit on my tenant as the Covid Law expressly prohibits it. I disagree, my reading is that no eviction actions will be processed for 3 months but that notice can be given. I have no problem whatsoever with my tenant. However personal circumstances mean that my wife and I need to repatriate from Spain to U.K. asap and the sooner we can advise the tenant  the better. We are currently 'stuck' in U.K. Your comments would be much appreciated.

    D.Royle

     

     

    • Our landlord served us an eviction notice on 19th March 2020Louise Smith
    • Posted

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    Our landlord served a possession of property notice dated 19th March 2020 before the government lock down was announced on the 23rd of March 2020, and it states they would like to seek possession of their property as from 24th May 2020.

    We are a family of 4 who are working from home and still paying our rent and bills as usual as our job is at no risk so the rent has always been paid on time.

    Obviously due to the current COVID-19 we are every day looking online for another property to rent within our budget but to no avail.

    May I ask what is our rights?


    Many thanks

    • emergency eviction for law breaking tenantsPhil
    • Posted

    So, as I read above, if I have a tenant who is knowingly breaking the law and the contract they can legally stay for 3 months as opposed to 2 weeks a section 8  would usually stipulate? and carry on breaking the law during this period?