The Government brought in emergency legislation on 27 March 2020 preventing Landlords from obtaining possession of properties or enforcing possession orders already obtained for a period of 90 days. We previously reported on this in June 2020 when the Government announced it would extend the stay for a further eight weeks until 23 August 2020.
Whilst the stay was welcomed by millions of Tenants throughout the UK, Landlords were unable to obtain possession of their premises regardless of the type or severity of a Tenant's breaches. However, we recently reported that from 24 August 2020 Landlords would be able to continue with existing proceedings or commence fresh possession proceedings against their Tenants.
On Friday 21 August 2020, just three days before the new legislation was due to come into effect, the Government made a complete U-turn and has extended the stay on possession proceedings for a further four weeks, until 20 September 2020. Therefore Landlords will not be able to continue with existing proceedings or commence fresh possession proceedings until further notice.
The Government's last minute change has created frustration amongst Landlords throughout the UK. Whilst several issues with Tenants have arisen due to the pandemic, Landlords are now left in a position where they are unable to take any action to deal with issues that are not related to Covid-19.
The additional extension is of course welcomed by Tenants who are no longer subject to an immediate threat of eviction during these uncertain times. However, this extension is only a temporary measure. The Government will now be required to use these additional four weeks to create robust plans and consider how it can achieve a balance between the interests of both Landlords and Tenants to gradually bring the country back to some form of 'normality' during the exceptional circumstances that the nation finds itself in.
Whilst the current position prevents Landlords from obtaining possession of their property if the Tenants fall behind with rent, Landlords are still free to pursue Tenants for rent arrears by way of a money claim which may be a viable option. Our litigation team are able to offer specialist guidance on taking such action.
As a firm, we continue to monitor the Government's guidance and our experts are on hand to offer advice to both Landlords and Tenants during this difficult time. We will continue to provide updates as and when they arise.
If you are a landlord, tenant or homeowner concerned about the current legislation and your situation, our dedicated team is on hand to provide expert advice to you. For more information on the Landlord and Tenant services we offer, please visit our dedicated webpage.
For more information or to discuss your individual circumstances in further detail, contact us today on 01603 693500 or email us using the 'Make an enquiry' form on our website. To comply with social distancing rules, our team can offer telephone or video appointments from the comfort of your home.
*This article is accurate at the time of writing (24th August 2020). This article is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or other professional advice.