The law surrounding possession claims and evictions has changed several times over this difficult period. The Government introduced various measures to give some respite to tenants who may be struggling financially as a result of the Coronavirus period. In March, the Government asked that landlords did not serve notices seeking possession, and in turn offered landlords mortgage holidays.
Six months down the line, there have been numerous changes. Here are our top tips for landlords who want to recover possession of their rental properties.
The Government has extended the notice period that a landlord must give before starting possession proceedings. In the majority of cases this is 6 months although there are exceptions such as anti-social behaviour or rent in arrears for over 6 months.
At BMS solicitors we will be able to advise you on the most appropriate notice to serve. We will also ensure that the correct timescale is in the notice.
We are all aware that lockdown and unemployment has hit us nationwide and the pandemic has caused financial problems for many people. Therefore, if your tenant is struggling to keep up with paying rent, we would recommend that you discuss this with them. You may be able to resolve the situation without the need of legal aid and come up with a payment plan that allows for the repayment of the arrears over time.
Potential delays at Court
The procedure for seeking possession of a rented property is the same as pre-Covid. However, the Court stopped dealing with possession claims and evictions for almost six months and only continued again this month.
As a result, the Court has a long backlog of possession cases to deal with. The Court will deal with urgent matters first (e.g. domestic violence). As the ban has only just been lifted, it is difficult to know how long any delay will be. However, it is important to note that there could be quite a wait for a hearing date or possession order.
Effect of the pandemic
If you need to issue proceedings, you will have to explain to the Court the effect of the pandemic on you and / or your tenant. We also recommend keeping a record of your discussions with the tenant.
With the law and procedure surrounding evictions changing frequently, it is more important than ever to seek early legal advice. BMS solicitors will take you through each stage, and ensure that you comply with all requirements.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss how BMS Solicitors can help you and your tenants then please get in touch with us on 0161 236 6816 or through our contact form.