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Private Rental Advice

Advice to Students in Private Rental Accommodation

The Coronavirus Act 2020 has suspended all evictions that require court orders for 3 months.

Landlords must now give a minimum of 3 months notice for any evictions of tenants and of some licensees. This will not apply to lodgers of live-in landlords. If your landlord has already issued you with notice, they will not be able to evict you for a further 3 months. The government has stated this period may be extended. Currently, after the 3 months notice expires, the landlord will be able to apply to the court for you to be evicted. However, the government guidance states that even if this does take place, it will likely be a further 6-8 weeks, or longer given the current circumstances, for any evictions to go through the courts. It is a criminal offence to evict you by force or intimidation.

Your rent is still due. It has been advised that tenants and landlords are expected to work out a realistic repayment plan for any rent missed in this 3 month period, taking into account the circumstances. But no law requires landlords to do this. For the full advice from the UK government, please click here.

The below advice still outlines the normal situation for evictions. Please note all of this currently still applies but with a minimum 3 months notice.

If you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy:

Your landlord cannot evict you without an order from the court granting him possession of the property.

If the landlord wants to evict you, he/she has to send you a notice requiring possession. This will be either a Section 21 or Section 8 notice.

If you are in a fixed term tenancy:

The landlord can only evict you during the fixed term of the tenancy by issuing a Section 8 notice and going to court. The notice must currently be for at least 3 months under the Coronavirus Act 2020. Once you get to court, if you have less than 8 weeks rent arrears, it is up to the judge to decide whether you should be evicted. You would be able to submit a defence that it was due to financial problems caused by coronavirus. If you have over 8 weeks rent arrears, it is a mandatory ground for eviction, so the judge will allow the eviction. 

If you are in a periodic ‘rolling’ tenancy, or your fixed term is ending soon and has not been renewed:

The landlord can use the accelerated Section 21 process to evict you with 3 months notice, whether you have any rent arrears or not. However, you should always seek advice if you receive an eviction notice, as many of them are invalid, which can significantly delay the eviction.

If you have a license agreement for accommodation where the landlord does not live with you (for example, in a student hall)

Your landlord can only evict you before the end of the fixed term if there is a clause in the contract stating they can do so. Any such clause should set out what notice you should be given. By law, you are entitled to ‘reasonable’ notice, and the landlord still has to apply to the court to evict you. 

If you live with your landlord

Your landlord can evict you without a court order, and therefore you have no additional protection from this due to the coronavirus act. You are still legally entitled to reasonable notice, unless it is the end of your fixed term. The landlord can change the locks themselves to remove you from the property. It is still a criminal offence to evict you by force or intimidation.

 

Page created 2nd April 2020