Social welfare and housing

Eviction notice period extended to six months

View looking out over buildings in Bristol

Tenants in England facing eviction have been granted a notice period extension from three months to six in new government legislation.

This will apply to notices being served to both private and social tenancies from 29 August and until March 2021.

This new notice period will apply to all notices, including section 21s*, but will exclude the most egregious** cases, which have been returned to their pre-COVID levels.

Simon Davis, president of the Law Society of England and Wales said: “This notice period extension will provide relief for those tenants facing eviction, and will give vulnerable tenants the time they need to seek help and find a new place to live.”

These changes come after the government extended the stay on evictions by a further four weeks, now ending on 20 September, and changes to court rules to manage court backlogs and prevent a spike in homelessness.

“The stay extension means courts can continue to make the necessary arrangements to manage cases safely during COVID-19,” said Simon Davis.

“The government and the courts have also passed new court rules and provided extra protections to vulnerable tenants and those who have been significantly impacted by the pandemic.

“However, more needs to be done, including resolving the legal aid deserts currently preventing tenants in some areas from receiving legal advice and making wider legislative changes to prevent a spike in homelessness.”

Notes to editors

* Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 allows landlords to end assured shorthold tenancies (AST) without having to give a reason, provided the correct procedure is followed and proper notice is given.

** Landlords will be able to move these cases through as a priority:

  • anti-social behaviour (now four weeks’ notice)
  • domestic abuse (now two to four weeks’ notice)
  • false statement (now two to four weeks’ notice)
  • over 6 months’ accumulated rent arrears (now four weeks’ notice)
  • breach of immigration rules ‘Right to Rent’ (now three months’ notice)

Find more information and guidance on COVID-19 and renting and the relevant legislation.

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