Recent announcements by the government clarifying how repossession cases in the rental market will be handled from 20 September have been welcomed by UK landlords, but concerns have been raised about whether courts will hear cases.
According to the new guidelines, buy-to-let landlords are now required to give their tenants at least six months’ notice period before seeking possession through the courts.
Tenants who have committed anti-social behaviour will only receive four week's notice of a landlords intention to repossess the property and for those who have committed acts of domestic violence, this drops to two week's notice.
Landlords dealing with rent arrear cases will only need to give four weeks’ notice where a tenant has built six months of arrears. This will ensure action can start to be taken now against tenants whose arrears had been built up before the Covid-19 lockdown.
The government announced last month that the courts would only prioritise cases where tenants were in a year or more’s worth of arrears.
The National Residential Landlords Association has said that it is disappointed that the six-month notice period will remain in cases where landlords need to regain possession of a property in order to live in it. The NRLA argues that this will continue to penalise those, such as servicemen and women in the military, renting their homes out whilst working away.
Last week’s announcement by the government also fails to provide the financial package of hardship loans needed to cover Covid-19 related rent arrears which are vital to sustaining tenancies.
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, commented: “The announcement provides welcome clarity about how possession cases will be handled. However, it will mean nothing without a complete guarantee that the courts will hear cases from 20th September.
“It is disappointing that the government has so far failed to heed the warnings of the NRLA and others that a financial package is needed to pay-off rent arrears built due to COVID. In the end, this is the best way to sustain tenancies. We will continue to campaign hard for this important measure.”