Property Litigation FAQs
During this time of uncertainty, Barcan+Kirby’s Property Litigation solicitors continue to advise landlords, letting agents and tenants in all areas of property law.
Many of the questions our litigation team are being asked are from tenants who are struggling to pay their rent due to a change in their employment circumstances and from landlords whose tenants cannot pay their monthly amount and, in turn, are left without an income. Some of our frequently asked questions are below, and which our expert team have answered as best they can in this ever-changing climate.
What does The Coronavirus Act 2020 mean for residential landlords and tenants?
The government has announced The Coronavirus Act 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The main changes for residential tenancies are:
- From 26th March 2020, landlords must give tenants three months’ notice when seeking possession
- This remains the position until (at least) 30th September 2020.
The Act does not have a retrospective effect and therefore, possession could continue in respect of notices already issued.
The Act still does not include excluded tenancies.
Can landlords go ahead with possession proceedings?
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has announced a suspension to all possession proceedings from 27th March for 90 days. This has now been extended until 23rd August 2020.
This means no current or about to commence possession proceedings can go to the eviction stage.
Landlords can still serve notice (just a longer period applies) and issue proceedings, but the matter will be stayed once possession proceedings are issued.
Rent is still payable! Obligations under the tenancy remain and so landlords and tenants are encouraged to communicate.
Emergency repair obligations should still be met and any unnecessary visits should be rearranged.
How will business premises be affected by The Coronavirus Act 2020?
From 27th March 2020, the Act provides generous protection to tenants of commercial property tenancies.
- Landlords cannot enforce their right of re-entry or forfeiture due to non-payment of rent in any way until (at least) 30th June 2020.
- Within current litigation relating to forfeiture for rent arrears, the tenant cannot be evicted until (at least) 30th June 2020.
- Landlords will not be able to rely on arrears between today and (at least) 30th June 2020 as delayed payment by the tenant, if seeking to object a lease renewal on the basis of such arrears.
The date of 30th June 2020 is the date currently given, but can be changed by Secretary of State.
This seems to be a rent deferment for business tenants, however, the rent is still contractually payable. It is not a rent-free period. Landlords and tenants are encouraged to communicate.