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Coronavirus Act: Key Dates for Landlords & Tenants

We all undoubtedly anticipated that the regulations which prevents residential evictions from taking in place in England and Wales would be extended from 22 February 2021 until 31 March 2021.

Both landlords and tenants have been critical that the exemptions were not changed. Landlords consider this to be unfair when for example, they have tenants that are in substantial arrears of arrears of rent who cannot enforce because the Landlord served a section 21 Notice rather than a Section 8 Notice. Tenants have referred to the government’s earlier assurances that no one would face eviction as a result of the pandemic and contend that certain exemptions should not exist at all.

The 31st of March 2021 is presently to be a very important date for both residential and commercial landlords and tenants in England and Wales. This is the date when:

  1. Notice periods for residential tenancies should revert to the pre-Coronavirus Act 2020 position.
  2. Restrictions on residential evictions should end.
  3. Protections from forfeiture for non-payment of rent for business tenancies should end.
  4. The period that rent should be disregarded in opposition under Ground (b) of section 30(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 should end.
  5. Restrictions on the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery and winding-up petitions and winding-up orders should be lifted.

It seems highly likely that the government will implement further legislation in the very near future.

Other noteworthy developments are:

  1. On 1 February 2021 a new and free Housing Possession Mediation Pilot Scheme was launched and will initially run for six months. This Pilot Scheme is intended to aid settlement of possession claims and help manage capacity in the courts.
  2. Procter v Procter [2021].The Court of Appeal’s decision could have significant implications for partnerships with informal occupation agreements whereby the Court held that at common law, a valid tenancy can be inferred from conduct even when there is a partial overlap between the individuals which constitutes the landlord and the tenant.
  3. The commercial service charge case of Criterion Buildings Ltd v McKinsey and Company Inc (UK) and another [2021. The High Court ruled that that the “due proportion” of the charge payable by the tenant was a fair proportion and it was to be determined by the landlord not the Court. The Court also subsequently found that a lease covenant to pay the landlord’s “properly incurred” costs meant that the tenant should pay costs on the indemnity basis.

This blog was written by:  Polly Hill

DISCLAIMER: Please note that this post sets out the general position under the general law. It should not be acted upon in any specific circumstances without taking specific legal advice as to those circumstances. Also, it should not be relied upon, acted upon or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. If you do require specific advice please contact us for assistance.