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What does this lockdown mean for landlords and tenants?

View profile for Claire Matthews
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With the UK having entered into a further national lockdown today (5 November), many residential landlords and tenants will undoubtedly be wondering what this may mean for them in relation to evictions.
 
In the previous lockdown, there was a ban on evictions up to 20 September 2020. Unsurprisingly, there is already a backlog in the courts of claims for possession by landlords. 
 
If landlords wish to recommence possession proceedings for matters stayed which were brought before 19 September 2020 then they must file reactivation notices with the court along with a fee to proceed.    
 
New rules have been put in place so that landlords must now give tenants six months’ notice to tenants to vacate the property, these rules are currently in place until 31 March 2021. Shorter notice periods will apply if there are rent arrears of 6 months or more, anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse or false statement.
 
So what now?
The Government has now confirmed that bailiffs cannot enforce evictions in England during the national lockdown nor over the Christmas period. No eviction notices are to be served until 11 January 2021 at the earliest and, given the 14 day notice period required, no evictions are expected to be enforced until 25 January 2021. The only exceptions to this are the most serious circumstances: 
• illegal occupation;
• false statement;
• anti-social behaviour;
• perpetrators of domestic abuse in social housing;
• where a property is unoccupied following the death of a tenant; and 
• extreme rent arrears equivalent to 9 months’ rent with any arrears accrued since 23 March discounted. 
 
If you are either a tenant or a landlord and have any queries relating to evictions please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Crombie Wilkinson Dispute Resolution team. The rules in respect of evictions are consistently changing and therefore we recommend you obtain specialist advice at the earliest opportunity.