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COVID-19 and Assured Shorthold Tenancies – Landlords and Tenants

Covid-19 Tenants and Landlords

Whether you are a landlord or tenant the effect of the Covid-19 Coronavirus is having a direct impact on the way your tenancy operates. You will of heard in the news of the protection being granted for tenants who cannot pay their rent and a new Act puts this protection into place.

On 26th March 2020, the Covid-19 Corona Virus Act 2020 came into force, and Section 7 of Schedule 29 of that Act deals with residential assured shorthold tenancies.

From 26th March 2020 until 30th September 2020 the period of Notice to be given to bring a fixed-term assured shorthold tenancy to an end has been extended from 2 to 3 months (Sections 7 & 12(2))

Under Section 12(1) if the tenant is in arrears of rent the period between serving notice of proceedings and issuing proceedings has been extended from 2 weeks to 3 months.

There are powers for these 3 months periods to be extended to 6 months if required.

From a landlords perspective, it means you will have to wait longer to start the eviction process. It is important that you take action as soon as possible to prevent further delays. However, if you have already started proceeding these should continue. If the notice you had already served has now expired then you can still issue proceedings.

On a practical point with the widespread adjournment of court cases, it is not clear when your case would be dealt with, or whether the bailiffs will be enforcing any eviction orders.

For tenants, it will provide a considerable breathing space but you must bear in mind that you remain liable to pay the full rent. 

Should you or your business require landlord or tenant advice at this difficult time then please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01270 215117 or visit www.hibberts.com

Stewart Bailey

Managing Partner

Stewart started his legal career in the City before making the decision to balance work and play more evenly. Returning to his Cheshire roots he joined what was then Durrad Davies & Co, experiencing the firm evolve into the Legal 500 recognised Hibberts LLP.