Property Management

Landlord evictions clarified under Covid restrictions

The Government has passed legislation restricting tenancy terminations when people are required to stay at home because of Covid-19 health measures.

Wednesday, November 03rd 2021

The new legislation will give landlords and tenants clarity and will help support tenants to comply with public health guidance.

These restrictions do not currently apply.

The restrictions on tenancy terminations will be able to be switched on and off by Ministerial Order (a Covid-19 tenancies order) in response to public health measures which generally restrict people from moving house (for example, alert level 4 restrictions).

Rules if the termination restrictions are activated

  • Landlords will not be able to end tenancies, except in limited circumstances.
  • Most terminations will be postponed until at least 28 days after the restrictions lift.
  • Tenants will still be able to give notice to end their tenancy as usual, but must consider if doing so would affect their ability to comply with Covid-19 public health requirements to stay at home.
  • If a tenant had previously served a notice to end the tenancy before the restrictions period, or agreed with the landlord that the tenancy would end, but now wants to stay, they will be able to withdraw the notice or agreement by notifying the landlord in writing.
  • Tenants can terminate a tenancy by giving two days’ notice if they are unable to move in due to Covid-19 public health order restrictions. Any bond or rent in advance (relating to the period after the termination) that was paid must be returned to the prospective tenants.
  • If a new tenancy was due to begin but new tenants are not able to move in as the property is not vacant, then any agreement between prospective tenants and the landlord will be cancelled. Tenants and landlords should work together to make a plan for when restrictions lift. Any bond or rent in advance that was paid must be returned to the prospective tenants.
  • If fixed-term tenancies become periodic due to the restrictions, the landlord may end the tenancy by giving 28 days’ notice within 28 days of the restrictions lifting.
  • Landlords will still be able to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to terminate tenancies for limited reasons, for example where a tenant engages in significant anti-social behaviour or substantial property damage.
  • If a tenant had previously obtained a termination order from the Tenancy Tribunal before the restrictions period, and now wants to stay, they can withdraw the termination order by notifying the landlord in writing. If the tenant still wants to terminate the tenancy once the restrictions are lifted, they can do so by giving 14 days’ notice within 14 days of the restrictions lifting.
  • If a landlord had previously obtained a termination order from the Tenancy Tribunal before the restrictions period, which had not come into effect, the termination date is suspended until 14 days after the restrictions lift (unless the termination order was for one of the limited reasons allowed during the restrictions period or the tenant decides to end the tenancy on the original date).

If the minister wants to lift restrictions they must give seven days’ notice that they are going to lift the restrictions, so that tenants have time to make the necessary arrangements to move properties.

Comments

On Tuesday, November 02nd 2021 11:32 pm Peter Lewis said:

The headline is, of course, misleading. Landlords cannot and never have been able to evict a tenant. All they can do is to terminate the tenancy. If the tenant then refuses to leave then the landlord has to apply to the District Court for a Court Order. Only the Court can grant an eviction warrant.

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