How Has COVID -19 Changed The Ways A Landlord Can Regain Possession Of Their Property?

With the arrival of COVID-19 and the economic uncertainty and job losses it created, governments introduced emergency legislation to ensure that tenants and landlords were both protected in such unprecedented times.

Photo of woman opening door. Credit: Matthew Henry

A landlord is able to serve one of two notices to regain possession of their property:

The Section 21 notice is the most common way for a landlord to begin the process of ending a tenancy and usually means the landlord is able to regain possession at the end of a fixed term or two months thereafter (depending on the terms of the tenancy and providing the tenancy is an assured shorthold tenancy protected by the Housing Act 1988).

The Section 8 notice is a little more complicated and involves the landlord applying through the courts because they believe there are grounds for possession. The grounds fall into two categories; mandatory (meaning the judge must award possession if the landlord can prove the ground exists), and discretionary (meaning it is at the judge’s discretion as to whether they award possession to the landlord).

However during the COVID-19 pandemic, the government have extended all notice periods to at least three months and this legislation is expected to stay in place until at least 30th September 2020. They have also suspended all current court possession proceedings until 23rd August 2020. Courts have advised they are accepting applications but that they won't be taking any further steps to regain possession at this time.

It may well be that the dates for these measures are extended but we will have to await further advice from the government at this stage.

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