Do I Have To Pack My Bags Yet?

Your own view of the Government’s response to the pandemic may well  depend upon whether you are employed or self-employed, were furloughed or not, rent your home from a private landlord, or are a private landlord yourself.

During the course of the pandemic the Government sought to offer additional protection to assured shorthold tenants by increasing the period of notice that a landlord has to give requiring the tenant to leave (Section 21) from two to four months, and then from four to six months.  It is currently six months.

We are told that from 31 May 2021 the notice period will reduce back to four months, and it is believed that it will then revert to the pre-pandemic two months’ notice, from 1 October 2021.

For tenants who may have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, and are struggling financially, the extra time will have been welcome breathing space.  Not only did the period of notice that a landlord needs to give extend, but evictions of tenants who remained in occupation after the expiry of the notice have been largely put on hold during the period.  That will also change from 31 May 2021 when evictions from residential properties will be allowed once more.  Tenants’ respite from lawful eviction is therefore coming to an end.

If you are on the other side of the fence, and a landlord, the proposed changes will be very welcome.  Many landlords will be facing a void of income from rents, from tenants who either can’t or won’t pay.  Apparently, 45% of private landlords own just one rental property.  Whilst eviction is of course devastating for tenants,  a shortfall of rent or a rent void may have equally devastating financial consequences for a landlord.  A gradual return to the pre pandemic timescales will be a welcome  relief to landlords, to mitigate their own financial detriment.

If you are a landlord or a tenant and need advice on the issues raised in this article please contact Stokes Partners’ specialist litigation team. The information contained in this article provides a general overview of the current position in relation to the subject matter.  It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon in relation to any specific legal problem.