The government has announced that landlord notice periods will be reduced to four months, starting from the 1st of June 2021.
Under temporary legislation introduced in August 2020, notice periods were initially increased to three months, and more recently to six months, to provide tenants with greater security in their homes at the height of the pandemic.
Whilst the deadline to end these temporary measures has been pushed back several times, MHCLG has now confirmed that it will begin to taper notice periods, starting with a reduction to four months from the 1st of June. If the government’s Roadmap is successful, notice periods should return to their pre-pandemic levels by the 1st of October 2021.
Notice periods have presumably been tapered in this fashion for two reasons; firstly, so as not to dramatically remove this safety blanket from tenants, and secondly to discourage landlords who have already served their tenant with six months’ notice from re-serving a dramatically shorter notice.
“Subject to the public health advice and progress with the Roadmap, notice periods will return to pre-pandemic levels from 1 October. The measures will ensure renters continue to be protected with longer notice periods for the coming months, while allowing landlords to access justice – 45% of private landlords own just one property and are highly vulnerable to rent arrears.”
Housing Minister Chris Pincher
Notice periods for the most serious cases will remain lower, for example substantial rent arrears. If a tenant has accumulated more than four months’ arrears, they can be served four weeks’ notice to end the tenancy.
It was also announced that evictions will recommence on the 1st of June, meaning that bailiff action can again be enacted. However, there still remains a lengthy backlog of possession claims caused by the court closures in 2020, so landlords will have to show patience as their claims progress towards the eviction stage.