End of the eviction ban – impact on landlords

As many people saw their incomes fall away during the pandemic, the government stepped in to protect renters by introducing a complete ban on evictions.  Courts stopped holding eviction hearings in March 2020 and although they were re-introduced in September 2020, bailiffs were instructed not to enforce them.

Struggling landlords
Whilst the eviction ban did its job in protecting tenants, it caused a headache for many landlords some of whom were getting into financial difficulties themselves due to their tenants building up thousands of pounds in rent arrears.  Some even found themselves at risk of losing their own homes when they were unable to pay mortgages on property with no rent forthcoming from their tenants. Interestingly, the government says, 45% of private landlords own just one property and are vulnerable to rent arrears.

Types of eviction

  1. A ‘no fault’ eviction – where the landlord just wants their property back, and the tenant(s) have not done anything wrong.  In normal times, such an eviction requires two months’ notice. A section 21 is applied for in these circumstances and the landlord is not obliged to provide any reason for the eviction.
  2. If the tenant has broken the terms of the tenancy and either damaged the property or not paid their rent for example, the landlord applies for a section 8, and the notice period is usually between two weeks and two months depending on which terms have been broken. 

Reduction in notice periods from 1st June
The minimum notice periods for renters were increased across the UK during the pandemic. In England this was to six months.  However, from October 2021, notice periods for eviction will go back to the same length of time as they were before the pandemic.  From 1st June the notice for no fault evictions will be reduced to four months. From 1 October 2021, the notice period will change to two months. Bailiffs will also, once again, be able to enforce eviction orders issued by courts with two weeks’ notice, or no notice in the most serious cases.

Backlogs and delays
Unfortunately, there is currently quite a backlog with both the courts and bailiffs office due to the eviction ban, so even once you begin proceedings, you can expect things to take longer to resolve than would normally be the case.  Having said that, it is worth getting your notice / application in sooner rather than later to at least begin the process.  Although it is possible to do this yourself, it is easy to get wrong, so worth using a solicitor to ensure it is done properly as any mistakes will delay the process still further.

Support for renters
The government has advised those who are struggling with paying their rent due to reduced income as a consequence of the pandemic to have early conversations with their landlords.  Local councils will also be able to provide help. Here is the link to Cornwall Housing’s information.

Get in touch
If you would like to speak to our Disputes team about issues relating to landlord and tenant, you can contact us on litigation@penderlaw.co.uk or by calling 01872 241408.