Many individuals have purchased property in recent years to let out as a means of providing an additional income stream, rather than taking out a pension. These are known as buy-to-let landlords. One of the drivers towards the boom in buy-to-let properties was the straightforward means by which a landlord could recover possession of their property under the Housing Act 1988. If an assured shorthold tenancy was properly granted to a tenant, the landlord no longer had to demonstrate that the tenant had been a 'bad' tenant or in rent arrears; the landlord could regain possession as of right, provided that the correct procedures were followed.
Landlords have faced far greater difficulties during the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, the government has introduced various protections for tenants during the pandemic to protect tenants from eviction, one of which was to increase the notice period for possession from two months to six months. The government also introduced various versions of the prescribed forms which are landlord has to serve on a tenant to commence possession proceedings.
The government announced that from 1 June 2021 the six-month notice period would be reduced to four months' notice. They have further announced that this will revert back to the original two-month notice period from 1 October 2021. It has been reported that due to the rapid changes introduced as a result of the pandemic, the government website included an incorrect version of one of the prescribed forms which could have resulted in an application for possession based on that form being thrown out. Different forms and procedures are required dependent on the reason for proceedings being brought.
What was already a fairly complex situation has been made more so by hasty changes introduced as a result of the pandemic. If a landlord fails to use the correct form or comply with the right procedure, their attempt to gain repossession of their property could be thwarted.
Anyone seeking possession of a residential property should therefore consider taking specialist advice to ensure that the correct process is followed.
To discuss this or any other landlord and tenant matter, please contact us.