On 24 March 2020, we provided an update setting out the impact of COVID-19 on property guardian companies. See the article here. The government passed into law the Coronavirus Act 2020 on 25 March 2020 providing additional measures to suspend evictions while the national crisis is taking place.
To protect renters affected by coronavirus, the Coronavirus Act 2020 means landlords must give all tenants 3 months’ notice, if they intend to seek possession. This protection covers most tenants in the private sector but does not appear to apply to property guardians occupying under a licence.
However from today (27 March 2020), the court will suspend all ongoing housing possession action including possession claims to evict property guardians. This means that neither cases either currently in or about to go in to the system can progress to the stage where someone could be evicted. This suspension will initially last for 90 days but may be extended if necessary.
We are also aware of Sian Berry’s publication in respect of property guardians last week. We await a publication of responses in this regard, as well as Ms Berry’s proposed next steps, if any.
Property guardians should be reminded that the new measures do not end liability for licence fees, and should pay this as usual if they can. If a property guardian approaches you with concerns about their ability to pay, you could consider various practical options to help. The government has also put in several urgent measures to support the nation, employed or self-employed, so you could direct property guardians to seek advice about this.
If you have any queries in light of the current situation, please do get in touch.