Landlords: What to do if your section 21 eviction notice expired during lockdown

Stressed landlady needs help with repossession

This article is designed as guidance for landlords who served a valid section 21 repossession notice before lockdown, but whose tenant never left after the date specified on the notice.

What a mess…… You served the correct notice in the proper form only to find yourself hobbled by lock-down measures.

Your tenant couldn’t leave, the repossession date came and went, the tenant is still there and now, if you re-serve the section 21 notice, you have to give a stomach-churning 6 month notice period.

What about section 8?

Even if you serve a section 8, not only do the usual rules apply but;

In your hour of most need, it seems that you have been overlooked by the legislators; Tenants are afforded unprecedented protections and you are left wondering “What just happened…?” or “What the heck do I do now?

  • 1. You must now observe the same pre-action protocols that a social housing organisation has to observe.
  • 2. If you rely on the mandatory ground of rent arrears as your only ground for eviction under section 8, you also have to provide details of how the coronavirus mitigation measures have affected your tenant financially. In addition, the tenant must be a full 8 weeks of rent in arrears.
  • 3. If you are relying on discretionary grounds only, your chances of success are limited at best.

There is a solution

Assuming you served a valid section 21 repossession notice and your tenant has not left, AND you are not seeking to recover money within the same application, you can apply for an Accelerated Possession Order through the courts.

An accelerated Possession order is not usually addressed via a hearing – it is mainly a formal paper exercise and, assuming you have met your legal obligations in terms of the management of the tenancy, it should be a fairly straightforward process.

How much does an accelerated Possession order application cost?

An accelerated possession order application (at the time of writing) costs £355.00. This is paid to the court on application.

The latest position with the eviction ban debacle is that no claims or applications will be processed until the 20th September 2020, but, you can still file your application now so that you are already “in the queue” for when the courts reopen to consider eviction actions.

I’ll be posting more articles around this subject very soon, but, in the meantime, if you need help on this or any other tenancy management subject – fill in the contact form and provide some background as to your problem and we can have a conversation about whatever issues you may be facing at present.