From Robert Ulph on September 24, 2021
I last wrote about the changes to notice periods that came into effect on 1st June and the Government has now announced that notice periods will return to their pre-COVID lengths from 1st October.
Since changes were introduced to notice periods at the start of the pandemic back in March last year and an eviction ban was introduced, the Government regularly reviewed the situation in line with the public health advice at the time. Initially the notice periods were changed to six months to help protect tenants during the uncertain times, with exemptions for certain serious cases. Then from 1st June they were reduced to four months and the ban on bailiff-enforced evictions came to an end.
Moving forward, the UK Government intend to retain the power to implement any similar measures again in the future should the public health situation worsen. To this end, legislation has been tabled that retains the ability for the UK Government to reapply longer notice periods until 25 March 2022 as a backstop.
For these latest changes reverting the notice periods to pre-COVID lengths, all renting and court guidance, along with prescribed forms have been updated to reflect this change and all letting agents should be aware of this.
Propertymark welcomed the way the Government had handled the changes, but did suggest it was a useful time to reflect on the housing market as a whole.
“Letting agents and landlords have worked hard to maintain tenancies throughout the pandemic,” commented Mark Hayward, Chief Policy Advisor, Propertymark. “So 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 which means that 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. As future reforms are considered for the private rented sector, the UK Government must now reflect on the last 18 months and implement policies that support letting agents and landlords to continue to house the nation.”
If any landlords are unsure what this means to them or if they are already affected financially with mortgage payments or lost rent, I cannot stress enough to seek professional advice. As always I also urge any tenants who are facing financial difficulties to contact their landlord or letting agent as soon as possible to discuss what options might be, as it is best to avoid rent arrears and any uncertainty.
At Pennington we can advise what can be arranged so that both tenants and landlord come through these latest changes in the best way. So as always if you need advice on this or anything else on the local property market, please call me as I am always happy to help.