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Coronavirus Act 2020: What are landlords' and tenants' obligations?

Possession proceedings have come to a grinding halt following the introduction of the Coronavirus Act 2020 (“the Act”).

For residential tenancy agreements, the key change is that the Act lengthens the notice period required from 26 March to 30 September 2020 – at least three months’ notice must be given to a tenant before possession proceedings can begin.    

Under the traditional Section 8 Notice, the minimum period of notice has always depended on the ground for possession. The minimum notice period required under Section 21 has been 2 months, but this is now extended to 3 months following the emergency legislation.

Irrespective of these recent changes and the suspension of possession proceedings, landlords and tenants must continue to abide by all other terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement. Landlords are still under an obligation to ensure that all essential and urgent work is carried out and health and safety issues must remain at the top of their list.    

The Government guidance provides a number of examples including testing the fire alarm, roof repairs, boiler and plumbing repairs, broken white goods and security problems. Landlords are urged to follow all precautions and to take a pragmatic and sensible approach when dealing with any problems.   

Similarly, tenants are encouraged to comply with their side of the tenancy agreement by continuing to pay rent and adhere to their obligations under the tenancy agreement. Where tenants experience financial difficulties, they should inform their landlord as soon as possible and parties are encouraged to reach an arrangement moving forward. It is advisable to record all new “terms” during this uncertain period and to retain copies of all correspondence/e-mail exchange between parties.

An earlier article covers issues arising out of financial difficulties for both landlord and tenant during the coronavirus pandemic.

For more information and advice, contact our Dispute Resolution specialists by calling 0113 232 1030 or emailing   

Gurpreet Birdi

Written by

Gurpreet Birdi

Associate Director

Gurpreet is an Associate Director. She is a solicitor in our Dispute Resolution team with significant expertise in civil and commercial disputes. She specialises in contested wills and probate, financial service litigation and professional negligence.

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