On 1 October 2021, the notice period required to be given to tenants occupying residential property in England under an assured shorthold tenancy returned to pre-pandemic levels.
What was the tenancy notice period previously?
Historically landlords would be able to rely upon a ‘Section 21 Notice’, giving two months to recover possession of their property.
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic and the concern that people were losing their jobs and potentially could lose their homes, the Government introduced legislation that increased the minimum tenancy notice period to six months. In June 2021, the minimum notice period was reduced to four months.
What is the tenancy notice period now?
As of 1 October 2021, landlords must again give a minimum period of two months. This change does not apply to properties in Wales, where the minimum period remains six months.
What is the impact of this change?
The return to re-pandemic tenancy notice periods will be welcomed by landlords, avoiding what appears to be a long delay in securing their property. For example, if they wish to sell with vacant possession, or carry out alterations requiring the premises to be empty.
By comparison, tenants will be extremely wary of the minimum notice period. The residential lettings market is extremely active, and reports suggest that in some areas it is virtually impossible to find suitable rental properties. The shorter notice period will exacerbate the problem and might lead to more possession claims being brought by landlords whose tenants simply have nowhere to go when their two months’ notice runs out.
If the tenant has not left when the notice expires, the landlord has a limited time to take formal action in the form of court proceedings for possession (six months from the date of the notice). If they fail to do so, a landlord will have to serve a fresh notice, and wait a further two months.
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