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9 September, 2021 Open access

Reversion of notice periods required for landlords to seek possession to their pre-pandemic position

However, new regulations issued in England retain power for government to impose longer notice periods until 25 March 2022

New regulations have been issued in England in relation to the reversion of notice periods that landlords are required to give to seek possession of property to their pre-pandemic position.

In force from 1 October 2021 for the majority of purposes, the Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies and Notices) (Amendment and Suspension) (England) Regulations 2021 (SI.No.994/2021) return notice periods to the position that existed prior to the modifications made by schedule 29 of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

NB - as originally enacted, schedule 29 required relevant landlords to give three months’ notice, which was then extended to six months in August 2020. As national restrictions then eased through 2021, landlords have been required to serve four months’ notice from 1 June 2021 in all but the most serious cases and, from 1 August 2021, notice periods in cases of ‘non-serious’ rent arrears have reduced a second time to two months’ notice.

The new regulations also prescribe new forms of notice under three statutory provisions - sections 8 and 21 of the Housing Act 1988, and section 83 of the Housing Act 1985 as it relates to fixed-term tenancies - as, unlike in other cases where temporary modifications to existing forms achieved the same result, new forms had been prescribed to introduce the longer notice periods so these now need replacing.

In addition, rather than allowing schedule 29 to lapse from 30 September 2021 as is currently provided for, the regulations retain the flexibility to re-impose longer notice periods until 25 March 2022. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government advises in the explanatory memorandum to the regulations that -

‘This is to ensure that the Ministry is able to respond swiftly to reintroduce longer notice periods should there be any future need to do so. This power would only be used if there was a clear need to do so either in light of a public health risk or to reduce pressures on essential public services owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.’

SI.No.994/2021 is available from legislation.gov.uk