The government swiftly introduced measures to protect tenants during the pandemic, creating emergency legislation to prevent evictions and requiring landlords to provide longer notice periods to tenants before regaining possession of their property. But with stamp duty holidays, rent arrears and a thriving property market, many landlords have been frustrated that they haven’t been able to act quickly to cash in their investment properties. Now, from October, landlords are in a stronger position to act once again, but are the changes to notice periods enough to progress rental property sales?
Our conveyancing solicitors Essex team explains that since June, landlords have been required to issue a minimum of four months’ notice if they would like to regain possession of their property. This has applied to both Section 8 and Section 21 notices, except in some specific cases of anti-social behaviour or rent arrears.
From the 1st October, 2021 these section notices have reverted to pre-pandemic requirements, which can vary depending on the grounds for which the notice has been served. For example, for section 21 notices, the period will be at least two months.
If a landlord has previously served a section notice on tenants, prior to the 1st October, then it is not possible to backdate your notice. Instead, the notice periods in force at the time will still be in effect.
For landlords issuing the notices from October, it’s critical that you provide the right notice period and use the correct form so that the section notice is valid.
Increasing numbers of tenants have reported financial difficulties during the pandemic. The Household Resilience Study reveals that 7% of private renters were in arrears during April/May of 2021. This is an increase from just 3% during the same period of 2019. Additionally, 27% of private renters are experiencing difficulties in meeting their heating costs. As such, it is strongly expected that additional levels of protection may be reinstated as tenants face a tough winter including rising gas prices and the end of furlough.
If you’re planning to sell your rental property this autumn, our conveyancing solicitors Essex team strongly advise you to get in touch. We can discuss the latest guidance before you seek to regain possession of your property in advance of a sale. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Hook & Partners today on 01268 692 255 to make an appointment with our experienced team.