Temporary increase in the notice period for eviction to be extended
The temporary increase in notice periods for eviction, including those announced in July, will be extended to 31st March 2021, Housing and Local Government Minister Julie James announced today.
Notice periods in relation to all tenancies, which had been due to return to their pre-Covid position after 30 September, will now be set at six months. However, where the reason for giving notice relates to anti-social behaviour or domestic violence, notice periods will revert to the pre-Covid position. These arrangements will be reviewed in December.
The extension is part of a wider package of Welsh Government funded measures to protect both tenants and landlords from the effects of the pandemic which include:
- a new low interest loan for tenants in rent arrears or struggling to pay their rent arrears because of Covid-19. The loan will be paid directly to landlords or agents and can be repaid over a period of up to five years at a rate of 1% APR
- a private rented sector helpline run by Citizen Advice Cymru for tenants struggling with rent, income or housing benefits to advise tenants on ways in which they can maximise their income and manage debt – with a view to helping them pay their rent if they can and hold on to their tenancies.
Addressing the Senedd, the Minister said:
“The coronavirus pandemic is continuing to have a significant impact on daily life and is still posing major challenges for all of us. I have therefore acted to give additional protection to renters by extending the current six month notice periods for eviction, other than the notice periods for possession grounds relating to anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse which will revert to the pre-Covid position.
“I am committed to ensuring we continue to protect renters whilst at the same time mitigating impacts on landlords and protecting communities from the harmful effects of ongoing anti-social behaviour. Where rent arrears have accumulated due to Covid-19, private rented sector tenants will soon be able to apply for a loan through the Tenancy Saver Loan scheme when it opens for applications at the end of this month."
The Minister added:
“While these changes offer greater protection to tenants, they are not an excuse for people not to pay their rent if they are able to, and address any financial problems they are experiencing. Having an early conversation with landlords to work out a way forward is vital, as is getting the right debt advice. This is why we have recently invested an extra £1.4m in advice services to ensure people have the help they need to build financial capability and to claim the benefits they are entitled to.”
In addition, eviction proceedings will not take place for properties in areas affected by local lockdowns and there will be a pause on eviction proceedings over the Christmas period.
Notes to editors
- The continued application of increased notice periods has been implemented using powers of the Welsh Ministers under the Coronavirus Act 2020.
- The changes apply to protected, statutory, secure, assured, assured shorthold, introductory and demoted tenancies. These comprise the vast majority of tenancies granted in the both the private and social rented sector.
- Eviction proceedings against tenants in social and private rented accommodation have been suspended in courts in England and Wales until September 20th.
- Separately, the UK government has amended the Civil Procedure Rules so that when proceedings resume, all landlords will be required to provide information to the court regarding the impact of COVID-19, and any general vulnerability of the tenant. This is to assist the court in exercising its discretion in deciding whether to make a possession order. However, in relation to the ‘no fault’ (section 21) and serious rent arrears grounds under the 1988 Act, the court is obliged to make a possession order where the ground is made out. Since the Practice Direction can only be of limited effect in such cases, the changes to notice periods in Wales are designed to provide further protection to tenants.