Last March we carried the news that landlords were being advised to budget for six months of not being able to commence repossession of their properties. Today, the six month wait has ended and Courts are beginning to hear cases. For some landlords it has been a difficult period; for some neighbours with problem tenants living next door it will have seemed like an eternity.
Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said:
“After a six month ban on repossessions it is important that landlords can start to take action to tackle the most serious cases. This includes those where tenants are committing anti-social behaviour or domestic violence and situations where rent arrears were building before lockdown and have nothing to do with COVID-19. The framework put in place by the judiciary and the Government largely strikes the right balance between the needs of landlords in such situations and those of tenants affected by the pandemic.
“We continue to encourage landlords to work with their tenants to sustain tenancies wherever possible, making use of the guidance we have prepared. To support this the Government should follow the example of Scotland and Wales and develop a stronger financial package to help tenants to pay off rent arrears built since the lockdown started.
“Ministers also need to address the crisis faced by those landlords who have rented their homes out whilst working elsewhere. The six months’ notice required in such circumstances freezes them out of accessing their own homes, effectively making them homeless.”
Neil Cobbold, Chief Sales Officer at PayProp, comments:
The resumption of evictions will be a welcome milestone for landlords who have had to wait six months to take action against tenants with serious rent arrears or those committing offences of anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse.
Letting agents will need to make sure that landlords understand the new notice periods set by the government. These include a six-month notice period for the majority of repossessions, alongside shorter notice periods of between two weeks and three months for the most serious and urgent issues.
The new evictions system is more complex than before, with landlords seeking to repossess a property through the courts due to rent arrears required to provide information relating to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on tenants.
For a variety of reasons, seeking an eviction from September 21 could be a longer and more difficult process than before. Therefore, agents will need to remind landlords that repossessing a property through the courts is not to be taken lightly and should be considered a last resort – while also being prepared to assist with the changing process where necessary.