Q: I am self-employed and, since the Covid-19 government restrictions were imposed, I have lost my main source of income. I have now applied for government assistance, but I am really struggling to pay the rent on my house. Can you tell me whether my landlord can evict me during the lockdown?
A: The Government has recognised that many people will be struggling to keep up with their rent as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. To help with this situation they have enacted new legislation called The Coronavirus Act 2020. The Act is a piece of temporary legislation which came into force on 26th March 2020 and provides some protection to tenants during the pandemic.
The main protection provided by the Act is that the statutory notice period for all common types of tenancies, including Assured Shorthold Tenancies, Assured Tenancies and Rent Act 1997 Tenancies, has been extended. Landlords are now required to give no less than three months’ notice to tenants, irrespective of whether the notice relates to a fault-based eviction (Section 8 notices) or a no-fault eviction (Section 21 notices). The new three month notice period will remain in place until 30th September 2020.
This means that, should you fall into rent arrears and are served with a valid Section 8 notice, your landlord cannot apply to the Courts to seek an Order for Possession for three months from the date you receive the notice. This offers you a degree of security by delaying the time when your landlord can legally repossess the property. However, you remain liable for the rent due under your tenancy agreement and you are still vulnerable to eviction even if it is temporarily delayed.
This question has been answered by Molly Drake a Paralegal with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. In accordance with government guidelines, most of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.
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