Insights and Opinions Mike Morgan 20/07/2021

There is light at the end of every tunnel

Some tunnels just happen to be longer than others. Lockdown and the roadmap to recovery feel like this. We’re getting there, but for landlords who want to get their property back from their tenant, it can still be tricky. 

The good news is that the ban on bailiff-enforced evictions ended on 31st May 2021, and notice periods were also reduced. The current notice periods are: 

  • Breach of ‘Right to Rent’ immigration rules (2 weeks’ notice) 

  • Domestic abuse in the social sector (2–4 weeks’ notice) 

  • Tenancy created as a result of a false statement knowingly being made by the tenant or someone acting on his behalf (2–4 weeks’ notice) 

  • Over four months’ accumulated rent arrears (4 weeks’ notice) 

  • Anti-social behaviour (immediate to 4 weeks’ notice) 

  • Death of a tenant (2 months’ notice) 

Notice periods for cases with less than four months' unpaid rent will reduce to 2 months’ notice from 1st August 2021. Subject to the public health advice, notice periods will return to pre-pandemic levels from 1st October 2021. 

The Government’s aim is to strike a balance between protecting tenants (by giving them longer than pre-COVID notices) and landlords (who need possession of their properties in shorter timescales than those seen post-lockdown).  

The not so good news is that it’s not just about notice periods.  

You have to get through the court queue to get a possession order 

If tenants don’t leave the property at the end of their notice, landlords still face having to take legal proceedings. With as many as 20,000 less possession claims being dealt with during lockdown we now have a situation where existing cases are backed up, and new cases are rising all the time.   

The courts expect you to mediate first 

The courts can now refer your case to mediation before you can get a possession order. The trouble is this happens in the 28 days before the possession hearing date – and all our experience shows that reaching an agreement that late in the game is a big ask. 

You have to get an eviction 

If you get your possession order and tenants still don’t leave the property, a County Court eviction can take an average of over 40 weeks to complete. 

The really, really good news is that there is an alternative to all this. All too often we see landlords and tenants need an impartial third party to help them. Using one of our mediators brings both common sense and expertise to find solutions that work for both landlords and tenants. Disputes can relate to rent arrears or other issues that have arisen during a tenancy. 

  • It’s quick – we typically reach an agreement in 10 to 15 working days 

  • It works – tenants work with us once they realise we’re not just on the landlord’s side 

  • It saves you time, money and stress – we find fast practical solutions without incurring expensive court proceedings. Our charges start from £200 plus VAT for NRLA members 

Call 0203 907 1857 to find out more or start your mediation. 

Mike Morgan

Mike Morgan Legal Division Manager, Hamilton Fraser

As Hamilton Fraser’s Legal Division Manager, Mike leads the PRS tenancy mediation service, giving quick and cost-effective solutions to disputes, saving the time, cost and delay of court proceedings.

A qualified solicitor and previously the Tenancy Deposits Scheme’s Dispute Resolution Director for over 13 years, Mike is passionate about preventing disputes through access to the best advice and guidance, and also resolving them quickly and easily where problems do arise. He is a Qualified Adjudicator (ACIArb), and has a Professional Award in Ombudsman and Complaints Handling Practice (Queen Margaret University and Ombudsman Association).

See all articles by Mike Morgan