Possession claims and the Coronavirus Bill

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Emergency legislation in the form of the Coronavirus Act is likely to come into force on Friday 27 March.

Any notice served in respect of an assured shorthold tenancy, and additionally in relation to social landlords, assured tenancies; flexible tenancies; demoted tenancies or introductory tenancies – must have a three month notice period, thus extending the period between service of notice and the ability to issue proceedings.

Notices issued before the commencement date will remain valid as a basis for possession proceedings.

There is provision within the Bill, as currently drafted, to extend notice periods further so that six month notice is required (although it would seem that any three month notices served before any extension of the notice period to six months would remain valid).

These provisions extend to all notices, served on the above tenancy types and all grounds for possession (including ASB). They do not extend to licences.

The provisions of the Bill do not create a defence that arrears have arisen as a result of the coronavirus.

There remains the possibility that Courts will adjourn all existing possession hearings until June.