October will see a major milestone in notice periods for residential tenancies where landlords are seeking possession, as they revert to pre-pandemic requirements. But with fears of a tough winter, as gas prices soar and furlough support ends, landlords are being warned to check the latest guidance before taking action, as additional protections for tenants may need to be reinstated.
For now, however, the Government has confirmed that notice periods for Assured and Assured Shorthold Tenancies will revert to pre-pandemic requirements from 1 October 2021. This suspension of the emergency legislation affects Section 8 and Section 21 notices, where landlords are seeking possession of a property.
Since 1 June 2021, most possession notices have required the landlord to give a minimum of four months’ notice if they serve either a Section 21 or a Section 8 notice, except in some specific cases of anti-social behaviour and rent arrears.
From October, the notice periods for Section 8 Notices will revert to the pre-pandemic notice periods – which vary depending on the grounds on which notice is served – and for Section 21 Notices, the notice period will revert to at least two months’ notice. New prescribed forms must be used for both Section 8 and Section 21 Notices from 1 October 2021.
Jonathan Dinsdale, Senior Solicitor and property litigation expert at Howell Jones solicitors says: “It is important that residential landlords make sure they give the right period of notice and use the correct form. There is no back-dating for notices served before 1 October, so any action taken before October will continue to be under the notice periods in force at that time.”
Jonathan added: “And while this sees a relaxation of the emergency legislation, if there’s a tough winter in economic terms, or a further surge in Covid-19, there is every chance that the extended notice periods will be re-introduced, so it’s very important to double-check before taking action in the coming months.”
A statement from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government reflects this, saying that the measures may be re-implemented if the public health situation worsens again, as the legislation which imposed the extended notice periods will remain in force until March 2022 and this is a suspension of, not an end to the emergency legislation.