The government guidance for landlords and tenants as a result of the coronavirus pandemic has been updated. The Coronavirus Act 2020 provides protection to social and private tenants by delaying when landlords can start proceedings to evict tenants.
To give tenants greater protection from eviction, landlords are required to provide tenants with 6 months’ notice period before they can start possession proceedings. This applies except in cases raising other serious issues such as those involving anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse, false statement and where a tenant has accrued rent arrears in excess of 6 months’ rent.
The stay on possession proceedings expired on 20 September 2020 and landlords can now progress their possession claim through the courts. The most egregious cases will be prioritised by the courts ensuring landlords are able to progress the most serious cases.
To protect against coronavirus transmission, bailiffs have been asked not to enforce evictions during the national restrictions in England except in the most serious circumstances. Together with pause on enforcement of evictions starting in December that has been agreed with bailiffs, this means that evictions in England will not be enforced until 11 January at the earliest, except in the most serious circumstances.
Landlords can continue to carry out repairs and safety inspections during the English lockdown period provided this is done in line with public health advice.
The guidance is clear that tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability. Tenants who are unable to do so should speak to their landlord at the earliest opportunity.