Changes to residential possession notice periods from October 2021

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The Government recently announced that notice periods for residential tenancies in England will revert back to pre-pandemic rules from 1st October 2021.

The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies and Notices) (Amendment and Suspension) (England) Regulations 2021 was set out before parliament on 8th September 2021, 18 months after the Act was first introduced, asking landlords to give tenants further notice for evictions to protect them during the height of the pandemic.

What notice periods apply for residential tenancies from October?

When seeking possession from a residential assured shorthold tenant in England, a landlord will usually have the option of serving a section 21 and/or section 8 notice.

There have been various changes to rules surrounding the service of possession notices since March 2020. However, from 1st October 2021, the notice periods will return to pre-pandemic rules. Accordingly, the following notice periods will apply:

Section 21 notices

Two months’ notice, which must expire after the fixed term of the tenancy.

This notice is applicable where a landlord wants to evict a tenant without relying on a specific ground for possession.

Section 8 notices

Two weeks’ notice when relying on rent arrears (grounds 8, 10 and 11) to seek possession.

This notice is applicable when one of the grounds for possession is applicable, i.e. rent arrears.

With regard to the other grounds, the following notice periods will apply:

  • Using grounds 3, 4, 7b, 12, 13, 14A, 15 or 17: two weeks
  • Using grounds 7a: one month
  • Using grounds 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9 or 16: two months (expiring after the end of the fixed term)
  • Using grounds 14: immediately after the notice is deemed served

Any eviction notices served before 1st October 2021 must comply with the rules at the date the notice was served.

What does this mean for landlords?

The return of the pre-pandemic notice periods is likely to be welcomed by landlords, especially those who experienced lengthy delays in seeking possession upon the rise of the pandemic. However, it is likely to be concerning for tenants who will now face much shorter notice periods than provided throughout the height of the pandemic.

It is anticipated that Landlords will now wait until 1st October to serve possession notices. Any notices served before October will attract a longer notice period, whereas waiting for the changes to come into effect will make for a speedier process.

However, there are a number of pitfalls for landlords, especially given that the prescribed forms will be updated from 1st October. It is therefore important that landlords use the correct format on the date they serve any notice. Throughout the pandemic, there has been a variety of formats depending on the date of service of the notice.

Some landlords might see the return to the pre-pandemic position as a positive but what is unknown is the challenges to notices that they may receive from tenants as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and how the courts will deal will these if subsequent possession proceedings are required.

Contact our landlord and tenant solicitors in Bristol

If you are a residential landlord who needs assistance on terminating a tenancy, or you have a dispute with a tenant, our property litigation solicitors can help. Call us on 0117 325 2929 or fill out our online enquiry form.


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