Can landlords re-possess properties if tenants can’t afford to pay the rent because of the coronavirus outbreak?
After 25 March 2020, and until 30 September 2020, a landlord can only start possession proceedings against a tenant if they have served 3 months’ notice upon the tenant – irrespective of any grounds relied upon.
On 27 March 2020, the Court introduced new rules to put all possession proceedings (except against trespassers) on hold until 25 June 2020 – it means that the Court cannot make an order for possession or any other order that would cause someone to be evicted during that time.
These rules do not just apply to tenants who have fallen into rent arrears.
On 5 June 2020, the Government announced that this stay would be extended further until 23 August 2020.
This means that you can issue new possession proceedings (provided you have complied with the new temporary rules in relation to notice periods, if the notice was served since 25 March 2020) and you can continue with existing possession proceedings.
However, any progress you may be able to make in dealing with those proceedings is likely to be very limited – the Court will allow you to comply with directions orders that have already been made but non-compliance will not be punished (at least for the time being).
These rules, and the latest announcements, are in keeping with the Government’s expectation that landlords show compassion towards affected tenants and that all parties will work together to establish a suitable repayment plan to allow tenants to repay the arrears at an affordable rate.