An announcement made by the Government on 12 May 2021 has confirmed that the ban on evictions will end on 31 May 2021, as things presently stand.
The evictions ban was initially introduced to provide greater protection for tenants during the coronavirus pandemic as an emergency measure and has been extended several times.
The lifting of the evictions ban from 1 June 2021 will mean that bailiffs can proceed with evictions however, bailiffs will be asked not to proceed with an eviction if someone in the property has coronavirus symptoms or is self-isolating.
Also from 1 June 2021, it will no longer be necessary for landlords to give six months notice in the vast majority of cases before issuing possession proceedings. Landlords will be required to give a reduced notice period of four months instead. This is with the exception of the most serious cases, for instance, cases of anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse etc. where the current short notice periods will remain. It is anticipated that from 1 August 2021, the notice period may be further reduced to two months notice when grounds 8, 10 and 11 are being relied upon.
The government's aim is to continue to offer some support to tenants whilst the national coronavirus restrictions continue to be eased and this support is envisaged to be in place until at least 1 October 2021. It also recognises the need to balance the protection of tenants against the need for access to justice for landlords.
Courts will prioritise the most serious cases however, it is anticipated that are many eviction warrants waiting to be enforced once the ban is lifted. There has however been no comment as to how the courts will tackle this backlog.
A link to the publication can be found here.
The prescribed forms of wording for giving notice under sections 8 and 21 of the Housing Act 1988 will be amended in due course to reflect the changes and landlords should ensure they use the correct version.