On this page you will find guidance for landlords and tenants in relation to the temporary changes around evictions during the Coronavirus pandemic

Page updated 23 March 2021

The ongoing government response to the Coronavirus pandemic has for several months imposed restrictions for landlords in the private rented sector. Landlords can still go about their business and market their properties for rent. They need to ensure that works are still carried out on their properties as long as they continue to observe social distancing rules as set out by government guidance.

Guidance on landlords being able to evict their tenants changed on the 21 August and the ban on evictions ceased on the 23 September 2020. So those landlords who have served relevant notices between 26 March 2020 and 29 August 2020 can enforce these notices. Landlords, however, should bear in mind that there will be a backlog of cases in the courts so the process will be delayed. 

However, as we move into the winter months, the government has issued new guidance to protect tenants. With a few exceptions all Notices served after 29 August 2020 have to give six months’ notice before proceedings in court can start. The exceptions to these new Civil Procedure Rules is for rent that is over six months in arrears and for serious Anti-Social Behaviour cases.

The government made amendments to the Coronavirus Act on the 10 March 2021. The following provisions have now been extended from the 31 March 2021 until the 31 May 2021. 

Section 8 Notices for Rent Arrears

If landlords are serving a Section 8 notice for rent arrears for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy then the periods for the notice vary:

When the notice was served Minimum notice period
On or after 29 August 2020 6 months – if less than 6 months’ arrears
4 weeks – if 6 months’ or more
Between 26 March and 28 August 2020 3 months
Before 26 March 2020 2 weeks

Evidence of rent arrears will now have to be given in advance of any court hearing where a tenant has experienced difficulties during the pandemic that has resulted in rent arrears. Landlords are strongly encouraged to work together to resolve these issues such as entering into payment plans taking into account a tenant’s circumstances.

The government is actively encouraging landlords not to pursue non-urgent cases for possession. It considers priority cases to be extreme anti-social behaviour, very high rent arrears, domestic abuse, unlawful trespassers, fraud and illegal subletting.

Government guidance has also indicated that landlords need to have in mind the Pre-Action Protocol that usually only applies to Social Landlords.

Section 21 Notices

The notice period for Section 21 notices served are similar to Section 8 notices.

When the notice was served Minimum notice period
On or after 29 August 2020 6 months
Between 26 March and 28 August 2020 3 months
Before 26 March 2020 2 months

Please note that Notices are now valid for 10 months as opposed to 6 for those Section 21 notices served after 29 August 2020.

There is further guidance on the GOV.UK website - COVID-19 and renting: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities