While most of the country is relieved at the gradual return to normal life after the pandemic, a less welcome return is that of court bailiff evictions for renters, reinstated yesterday as part of the government’s plan to come out of lockdown.
From 1 June 2021, a landlord that has obtained a valid possession order can apply to the court for a warrant of eviction.
In addition to this, the following changes come into effect today;
- The notice period for most tenancies has been reduced from 6 months to 4 months
- Notice may be shorter if the tenant is at fault, those in rent arrears of 4 months or more can receive just 28 days’ notice
- Other allegations such as antisocial behaviour, domestic violence, breach of immigration rules or death of a tenant will require just 2-4 weeks’ notice.
Since March 2020, there have been numerous changes to legislation designed to prevent or delay people losing their home during the pandemic, the rules have often been amended or extended at the last minute. In this case, the current plan is for evictions to be back to the pre-pandemic structure by 31 October 2021.
The Mayor of London’s office wrote in January that the “report a rogue” tool had received a considerable increase in allegations of unfair or unlawful evictions, likely prompted by the delay and removal of lawful methods of eviction. Unlawful eviction is where a tenant is removed without a court order or without involving court bailiffs. Unscrupulous landlords appear to have been resorting to their own methods to get around the ban.
A landlord must still serve the correct notice, apply to the court and be awarded a possession order before an eviction can take place. HJA anticipates significant delays due to the backlog of cases over the past year.
This means that even if your case has already been to the court, there is still time to seek help. When a case is issued in court, you will be sent a review date, providing details on how to access free legal advice before your possession hearing.
If you have been threatened will eviction with or without court proceedings, we recommend that you seek legal advice immediately, even if the property has been re-let. You can contact our housing solicitors on 0808 252 5231 to discuss how we might be able to assist with your claim.