Residential tenancies and mortgages

Guidance for landlords and tenants of residential premises

The Government has issued this guidance note for landlords and tenants of residential premises.  It contains guidance relating to notices and possession proceedings.

 

Termination notices

The relevant provisions relating to residential tenancies are Section 81 and Schedule 29 of the Act.

The Schedule makes provision for extending the notice periods required before commencing possession actions in relation to various types of tenancy.

The Schedule provides for a ‘Relevant Period’ lasting from the enactment of the legislation to 30 September 2020, with provision for the relevant period to be extended by statutory instrument.

During the Relevant Period, the following apply:

  • Assured Tenancies and Assured Shorthold Tenancies. Landlords may still serve section 8 notices. However, any notice must specify a date more than 3 months after the date of the notice as the date earliest date upon which proceedings on the notice can be brought. This applies to all the grounds of possession in schedule 2.
  • Assured Shorthold Tenancies. Section 21 notices may still be given, but the date specified for giving up possession must be at least 3 months after the giving of the notice.
  • Rent Act Tenancies. A valid Rent Act Notice to Quit must provide a notice period of at least 3 months. Further, no possession proceedings may be brought within the Relevant Period unless the landlord has given the tenant a “statutory notice” of at least 3 months’ of its intention to bring proceedings, or the court considers that it is just and equitable to dispense with those requirements (Schedule 29, para 2). This is a new concept in relation to Rent Act tenancies. The statutory notice is defined in a new s3(4C) of the Rent Act 1977, as introduced by para 2(3) of Schedule 29.  If you have a Rent Act case you should go to that provision to find out what to do.
  • Secure Tenancies. Any notice prior to proceedings for possession on a Secure Tenancy must give a notice period of at least 3 months prior to commencing possession proceedings. A similar 3-month notice period to possession proceedings relating to anti-social behaviour
  • Flexible Tenancies and Introductory Tenancies. An extended notice period of 3 months is also introduced for both Flexible Tenancies and Introductory Tenancies.

The Schedule also provides provision for the 3-month notice periods to be extended to a period of up to sixth months by statutory instrument.

 

The notices 

The new notices giving effect to the above provisions are as follows:

Assured shorthold tenancies

New Form 6A – s21 notices

To be used from 26 March until 30 September.

Assured tenancies

New Form 3 – s8 notices.

To be used from 26 March until 30 September.

 

Mortgages

Financial Conduct Authority Guidance

The FCA has confirmed the support firms should give to mortgage customers who are either coming to the end of a payment holiday or who are yet to request one. The FCA is also reminding customers that if they can afford to resume payments, they should.

It would seem that starting, continuing or enforcing possession proceedings is likely to be considered to be a breach of the following principles: Principle 6 (‘A firm must pay due regard to the interests of its customers and treat them fairly’), Principle 7 (‘A firm must pay due regard to the information needs of its clients, and communicate information to them in a way which is clear, fair and not misleading’) and MCOB 2.5A.1R (‘A firm must act honestly, fairly and professionally in accordance with the best interests of its customer’).

 

 

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