How has Coronavirus impacted upon Landlord and Tenant disputes and what can you do during these unprecedented times?

22nd May 2020

The housing market has recently been re-opened by the Government, which means it is prime time for new tenants and purchasers to begin the hunt for their forever homes. You may find yourself in a position where you need to evict a tenant in order to sell your property or need to evict a difficult tenant to reclaim ownership of your property, but what do you do when you are facing those issues during a global pandemic?

In respect of landlord and tenant matters the Government passed The Coronavirus Act 2020. The Coronavirus Act 2020 stays all claims that have been issued under the Housing Act 1988  at Court for a 90 day period from 27th March 2020 and also stays all matters that were in the process of being issued; for example if your Claim Form and Particulars were sent to Court or your tenant was sent an Eviction Notice.

Therefore, procedurally, you cannot do anything in respect of evicting your tenant until 25th June 2020 other than discussing matters with them and determining whether your tenant may wish to leave the premises without you having to instigate Court proceedings. During these times do not underestimate the power of a friendly conversation with your tenant as they may be willing to co-operate. However, if your tenant will not co-operate you need practical advice regarding the next steps you should take.

Any section 8 or section 21 notices served on tenants before 27th March 2020 (i.e. posted before 24th March 2020 and emailed or hand delivered before 4pm on 27th March 2020) are still valid. Upon the expiration date of the notice they should vacate the premises. Special consideration should be given by landlords where the tenants could not vacate; for example, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic when viewings were not taking place and the Government advice was to remain at home indefinitely.

Upon expiration of a valid section 8 or section 21 notice, and your tenant refuses to vacate the premises, you are still required to obtain a possession Order from the Court to lawfully evict your tenant. Failure to do so could enable your tenant to file an unlawful eviction claim against you.

It is anticipated that further guidance will be provided by the Government just before 25th June 2020 to enable practitioners to provide practical and accurate advice in the run up to the stay on proceedings expiring.

If you find yourself in need of advice regarding a landlord and tenant matter, do not hesitate to contact our experienced litigation team on 0161 928 3848. The team would be happy to have a no obligation and free telephone consultation with you to determine if they can assist you.

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