In November, Terry Maylin of TM Law wrote about the challenges landlords were facing because of changes to Landlord and Tenant Law in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the time, the UK had various Covid-19 tier systems in place, and local and regional restrictions meant that rules and processes surrounding landlord and tenant issues differed depending on where a property was located. Whilst, in some areas, it was possible for landlords to issue proceedings and obtain possession orders, in other areas things were much more complicated. However, regardless of the tier, local or regional restrictions, or how far a landlord had managed to advance in the process of regaining possession of their property, a moratorium was in place across the UK which meant that removing tenants was restricted, except in the most serious of cases. As a result, being a landlord had become an increasingly challenging business, due to the added complexity that the pandemic had brought to Landlord and Tenant Law.
Since November, a dreadful second wave of Covid-19 has ripped through the UK and we have experienced further national lockdowns. However, with the rollout of the NHS vaccination programme proving successful and Covid-19 infection rates reducing, restrictions are slowly being lifted and normal life is beginning to return for most people.
But how has the landscape changed for landlords in the past six months?
In many ways, the reintroduction of nationwide lockdowns has simplified things. Rather than there being different rules and processes depending on which tier your property is in, we again have consistency across each of the UK nations. As things currently stand in England, landlords can serve tenants notice, court action can proceed, and possession orders can be issued. However, until the current moratorium on evictions ends on 31 May 2021, evictions remain on hold (except in certain instances).
So, will things return to normal from 1 June? It is currently unclear, but it is likely there will be instances where certain Covid-19 restrictions prevent landlords from regaining possession of their properties, even when a court possession order has been issued. A backlog in pending evictions, which has built up over the past year, is also likely to mean that delays will be faced in instructing bailiffs.
There is also no guarantee that a third wave of Covid-19, localised spikes in infection rates, or new Covid variants, won’t see new restrictions being imposed in the future. If that does happen, then further changes to the already complex rules and processes surrounding landlord and tenant issues are likely to occur.
As a result, it is more important than ever that landlords seeking to regain possession of a property do things correctly from the outset to avoid any unnecessary delays or hiccups.
Fortunately, Terry Maylin at TM Law has more than 20 years’ experience dealing with landlord and tenant issues. He has also helped many clients over the last year successfully navigate the complex and protracted process of regaining possession of a property in a world where Covid-19 affects us all.
TM Law Ltd is a member of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the regulatory body for solicitors in England and Wales.