COVID 19 - Impact on residential tenancies
Schedule 29 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 is headed Residential Tenancies in England and Wales: Protection from Eviction. The provisions in the Act apply with immediate effect in England and Wales and cease on 30th September 2020, although that date may be extended.
In respect of promised additional protection for Tenants, the effect of the Act is to extend notice periods to three months in most cases where a Landlord is seeking a possession order – this means the Landlord can’t apply to start the court process until after this period has elapsed. In addition, following a decision by the Master of the Rolls with the Lord Chancellors agreement the court service has suspended all ongoing housing possession action – this means that neither cases currently in the or any about to go in the system can progress to the stage where someone could be evicted. This suspension of housing possessions action will initially last for 90 days.
These measures will help protect all private and social renters. However, as we are already experiencing, there are difficult discussions being had about non-payment of rent. Ultimately the Tenant remains under an obligation to pay the rent and we are working with Landlords and Tenants to try and agree sensible and fair rent payment plans.
As the Tenant is liable to pay the rent, equally the Landlord remains legally obligated to ensure properties meet the required standards – urgent, essential health and safety repairs must be made. In difficult circumstances we are working closely with our trusted tradesmen and women to undertake essential work in accordance with the Government’s and Public Health England guidelines.