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Eviction Changes: How Have Landlord’s Rights Shifted as of June 2021?

Priya Sejpal, senior associate at law firm BLM and experienced property litigator, outlines the updates to the law and how landlords can respond

The residential rental market has been tumultuous over the course of the pandemic, with personal finances impacted and high levels of uncertainty rocking the market. To help alleviate some of the financial burdens facing precarious renters in particular, landlord and tenant law has, and continues to be, ever-evolving. A number of measures were quickly introduced via the Coronavirus Act 2020 to protect the viability of the market, particularly focused on suspending evictions and repossessions. Many of these specific updates, including (but not limited to) changes to Section 21 notices and a moratorium on bailiff-led evictions, have been repeatedly extended throughout the year.

With ‘normal life’ beginning to resume and some early signs of economic recovery on the horizon, landlords and tenants alike will no doubt be hoping for stability. However, the fallout of the pandemic will certainly be felt for some time; a recent poll from ClientMoneyProtect, surveying letting agents, suggested that a third had seen over 50% of their tenant portfolios fall into substantial arrears of six months or more. With many renters still facing job insecurity, and the end of the furlough scheme quickly approaching, has the protection against evictions simply kicked the can down the road for both tenants and landlords alike?

Throughout the pandemic, many landlords have expressed a sense of frustration over a perceived lack of measures to protect their rights. Many have felt they were left with no choice but to accept rental arrears, with their ability to enforce significant arrears scuppered by law. However, with the moratorium now lifted as of 1 June, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel for those within the rental market who may have suffered as a result of late or non-payment due to the pandemic.

So, what are the changes landlords should be aware of as of 1 June? It’s a date that marked a number of significant changes, one of the most prominent being the end of the moratorium on bailiff-led evictions, allowing landlords to enforce various court orders, including writs and warrants, including those they had obtained prior to 1 June. This also applies to tenancies that fall outside one of the statutory regimes (i.e. non-Housing Act tenancies) or residential licences.

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