The dispute resolution team at Clough and Willis – the Bury and Bolton based law firm – has seen a sharp spike in demand from residential landlords who want to know how they can be prepared for when they can start recouping outstanding rents at the end of August. The Coronavirus Act initially banned residential possession proceedings until 27th June, but that was recently extended until 23rd August.
Prior to the provisions of the Coronavirus Act, landlords could commence possession proceedings if a tenant defaulted on their rent - this is called a section 8 notice. The process would see the tenant being given two weeks’ notice to correct the default, either by clearing or reducing the arrears.
However, the coronavirus regulations now mean that the notice period is three months and proceedings cannot be started until 23rd August at the very earliest.
Fiona Gaskell (pictured), partner and head of dispute resolution at Clough & Willis, said: “The Coronavirus Act protected many vulnerable people during the height of the crisis, but it has left thousands of landlords across the North West being owed large amounts of unpaid rents. That situation simply isn’t sustainable as landlords need to receive their rents or risk financial ruin."
Fiona added: “The process of how landlords are able to secure the rent arrears owed to them will be quite rightly scrutinised so it’s essential the rules are followed and adhered to every step of the way. I’d encourage landlords to do their research, understand what they can and can’t do and get prepared as lead in time for issuing possession proceedings is now much longer than it’s ever been.”