The Coronavirus And Repossession Law

Posted on: 28 August 2020

Changes made to possession


Firstly the notice period for possession has now been extended to three months until September 30th 2020, and may in the near future could extend further to 6 months. Additionally all possession notices have been given a 90 day suspension and all private Landlords will now be expected to abide by the same laws as social Landlords before possession orders are administered. 





Steps to be taken before possession proceedings are issued


  1. If a landlord knows a tenant to of fallen in to difficult financial circumstances a face to face conversation is the firs thing the current guidance recommends. The Landlord must ensure the tenant understands that any information given has been understood and comprehended by the tenant in question. All reasonable steps must be taken to ensure this.


  1. If you believe the tenant to be vulnerable in any way, you must consider whether the tenant is in the position to defend themselves in the first place. Additionally, take care to consider any legal ramifications apply regarding the 2010 Equality and Care Act. If you’re a Local Authority Landlord, the issue of a community care assistant must also be considered in accordance with the 2014 Care Act.





Protocol governing rent arrears


1.  If a tenant has fallen on to hard times you need to discuss all aspects of your tenants financial capabilities including benefit entitlements, personal finances such as expenditure, loan or credit card repayments etc



2.  Any tenant facing financial hardships must supply you as their Landlord with a personal financial statement, outlining all current financial details such as income and expenditure. This must be done from the outset. If possible both you and your tenant will need to consider a payment plan for anything outstanding.


3.  Rental statement should always be provided upon request outlining rent due and rent paid for the previous 13 weeks. You must also outline at what point the arrear amounts started to form and a total figure for the arrears to date.


4.  If the tenant does meet the necessary criteria, you should apply to the Department for Work and Pensions in order that the areas be paid for by way of deductions from the tenants benefit.


5.  You should also offer to assist the tenant in any claim they may have for Housing Benefit, discretionary housing payments or Universal Credit (Housing Element). 


6.  Possession proceedings can not be issued against a tenant who can reasonably expect to have had a recent Housing Benefit Claim, or Universal Credit claim granted (if for example they meet the pre-criteria for qualification) or if contributions have been made through payments not covered by Universal Credit or Housing Benefit (i.e Housing Element)


Before taking action you should attempt to do all you can with the respective DWP or Housing Benefit Department and if permitted, make direct contact with the DWP office before any enforcement action is taken.  





Once an Eviction Notice has been served


8.  Once an eviction notice has been served and before proceedings have been initiated, you should discuss the following:


  1. The amount of the arrears

  2. The reason behind the arrears

  3. The repayment of the arrears

  4. The position regarding the Universal Credit or Housing Element


Once this has been discussed, a copy of the protocol must be sent to the tenant in question.



9.  If the tenant can agree to pay the ongoing rent and agree a repayment scheme towards the arrears, the Landlord should agree to withhold eviction for such time that the agreement is kept by the tenant. If said agreement fails you can then warn the tenant of your intention to initiate proceedings but also provide ample time for the tenant to comply again.





If the current situation with Coronavirus legislation is giving you sleepless nights, why not give Arch Living a call on 0116 2706699. We have years of experience helping Landlords from all around the UK on everything from taxes to interior layouts! Seriously don’t be shy, call us today and let us point you in the right direction.


For the Governments full briefing on the Coronavirus Act 2020, Guidance for Landlords click here.


For general guidelines on how the Government is currently helping Landlords, click here


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