Covid-19 and Evictions

Landlord and Tenant: Evictions during the Covid-19 pandemic

You may find as a residential or commercial landlord that your tenants are struggling to pay their rent during the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19 has led to people being furloughed, losing their job or earn significantly less, if they are self-employed for example.

There is no set rule for tenants to be given a rent holiday or a reduction in rent; it is up to you to discuss with your tenant if you will accept any changes during this time. In terms of a rent holiday, it is important to consider how likely it is the tenant will be able to pay the money back eventually.

You should try to be sympathetic to tenants and their circumstances but we understand that missed rental payments have an effect on your income as well. As a landlord, you may be eligible to apply for a three-month mortgage holiday from your lender to provide some financial relief to you and for your tenant.

A discussion between landlord and tenant about rent arrears before taking action is advised. Tenants should be given the opportunity to look into different financial options or benefits that might be available to them as well as the chance to seek legal advice if necessary.

Currently, all possession proceedings (with a few exceptions) are stayed until 23rd August 2020.  The courts are currently preparing to deal with a backlog of possession cases once the stay is lifted.

The Restart of the Eviction Process

From 24th August 2020, the courts will begin dealing with eviction cases again. You can apply to the court before this date but no action will deemed to have been taken until this date. If you decide to start eviction proceedings against a tenant, you will have to follow the rules that applied prior to lockdown.

In most cases, it is illegal to forcibly evict a residential tenant, if you lock them out for example, which is where the notices and court orders come into force.

It may be the case that you had already started eviction proceedings before lockdown. If so, court bailiffs are operating once again from 24th August although a minimum of two weeks’ notice must be given to the tenant in this case if the proceedings had reached this stage.

Whether you have tenants who refuse to leave or you simply want to make sure you act legally, please contact Matthew Jenkins at mjenkins@streetermarshall.com

“The information contained in this article is for general interest purposes only.  We believe the information contained in this article to be correct at the time of publication. It is important to seek professional advice on any specific issues as the application, interpretation and impact of laws can vary widely based on the specific facts involved. Accordingly, the information on this site is provided with the understanding that Streeter Marshall, the authors or publishers are not herein engaged in rendering legal advice and accept no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of the material contained herein.”