Thursday, 17 September 2020

COVID-19: Business Tenants: Reprieves Extended: England & Wales

Bad for business tenants if they are behind with their rent. Good news for business tenants if they feared the landlord sending in a bailiff to seize stock, their copies of Breaking Law and their padadol tablets to sell and pay off those arrears. Landlords are currently paralysed from forfeiting a business lease and bringing court proceedgs to have the tenant evicted until 30 September 2020. That period has been extended until 31 December 2020 by the Business Tenancies (Protection from Forfeiture: Relevant Period) (Coronavirus) (England) (No 2) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/994 laid before Parlimant yesterday. The same change has alreday made for business tenants in Wales. And there's an increase in the amount of rent that has to be in arrears before a bailiff can be sent in under the commercial rent arreras recovery scheme. Pre-pandemic it was seven days' worth. From 25 April 2020 this was raised to 90 days. There was a further increase from 24 June 2020 to 189 days. By the Taking Control of Goods (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/1002 applying to business premises in both England and Wales, the figure is raised from 29 September 2020 until 24 December 2020 (inclusive) to 276 days' rent and from 25 December 2020 to a temporary 366 days.

Monday, 14 September 2020

COVID-19: LATEST RESTRICTIONS:ENGLAND

They'e arrived. The latest restrictions which came into force at 12.01am today were published around 15 minutes ealier. You'll find them in SI 2020/986 - The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2020.If that's too much of a strain, below is a governnment summary of the changes (as slightly amended by me). Better than listening to me for four hours - or even more than six! Regulation 5 of the Original Regulations is amended to provide for: • The prohibition of a gathering of more than six people unless they are from the same household or two households where they are linked households* - unless a valid exemption applies. For a definition of linked households, you will need to take a look at the regulations. * The exemptions to the gatherings limit are (Regulation 5(3)): o For an elite sportsperson, their coach (or where the elite sportsperson is a child, their parent) and the gathering is necessary for a competition or training; o Where the gathering is reasonably necessary for work purposes; for the provision of voluntary or charitable services; for education or training; to provide childcare or to supervise activities for children; to provide emergency assistance; to enable the avoidance of injury or escape from the risk of harm; to provide care to or assistance to a vulnerable person; to facilitate access to and contact between parents and children where they do not live in the same household; o To fulfil a legal obligation; o Where the gathering is a support group; o For gatherings of up to 30 persons for marriage or civil partnership; o For gatherings for a significant event * Additionally, regulation 1(4ZA) is inserted into the Original Regulations to provide that the gatherings restrictions in private dwellings contained in the Regional Lockdown Regulations remain in place. This affects: the Public Health (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Leicester) (No. 2) Regulations 2020; the Public Health (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Blackburn with Darwen and Bradford) Regulations 2020; the Public Health (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (North of England) Regulations 2020; and the Public Health (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Bolton) Regulations 2020 (together “the Restrictions”). * The police and local authorities will continue to monitor compliance with the Original Regulations, including the amendments set out in this instrument.

Monday, 7 September 2020

Covid-19:Wills: New Law on Witnesses

A testamentary trio. That's what the law of England and Wales requires to make a will valid. The willmaker and two witnesses, all physically together at the same time and able to see and smile at each othet. But the pandemic has made this impossible in many cases. Some wills have been signed up virtually using special software. Opinions are divided on whether or not this satisfies legal requirements. Have no fear. The law is changing retrospectively under the Wills Act 1837 (Electronic Communications)(Amendment) (Coronavirus)Order 2020 SI 2020/952 made today 07 September 2020 and coming into force in three weeks' time. Wills made after 30 January 2020 and for two years from then will be legally okay if video witnessed. This period may be shortened or lengthened in due course.

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

COVID-19: LANDLORD & TENANT: NEW SECTION 21 NOTICE: ENGLAND

The life of a notice seeking possession of premises let in England under an assured shorthand tenancy   - the commonly called section 21 notice - has been extended from six to ten months (by the Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/747 and for more on those regulations see https://www.breakinglaw.co.uk).

But the above regulations failed to reflect the extended period in the prescribed notice that is Form 6A. That is put right by the Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) (England) (Amendment) and Suspension (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/924 - cute title, eh? - which were made at 11.33am today and come into force tomorrow 02 September 2020. Although there is a current stay on bringing possession proceedings, there is no stay on a landlord serving a notice requiring possession on their tenant. This means that the revised section 21 notice should be used as from tomorrow and be for at least the increased period of six months. When that period reverts back to two months and the life of the section 21 notice to six months, the form will be reamended. Now, that's something to look forward to. 

Good evening!

Sunday, 30 August 2020

COVID-19: NOTICES TO TENANTS: LATEST ON 6 MONTH INCREASE;ENGLAND


I reported on the extended stay to 20 September 2020 for  possession proceedings and enforcement at https://www.breakinglaw.co.uk Further covid-19 laws on the notice period to be given to tenants (before possession proceedings can be brought against them) came into force yesterday Saturday 29 August 2020. 

The new laws will last until 31 March 2021. For any notice given to a tenant from yesterday and up to 31 March 2021, the period  is doubled from what was the temporary three months to six months. There is a mighty exception. Where the landlord is relying on non-payment of rent and the arrears are for at least six months' worth of rent, the notice period is temporarily shortened to four weeks. There are other exceptions in relation to possession on the ground of anti-social behaviour and in respect of introductory and demoted tenancies.

For chapter and verse, see the Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/914).

Monday, 24 August 2020

POSSESSION STAY EXTENDED

I told you, didn't I? The ban in England and Wales on tenants being evicted and court possession proceedings being pursued was to be lifted as from yesterday. If you were a tenant, you blessed. If you were a landlord, you cursed - as you read https://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/2020/08/bailiffs-about-to-awake.html

And what have they gone and done? The ban has been extended until 20 September 2020 by the Civil Procedure (Amendment No 5) (Coronavirus) Rules 2020 SI 2020/889. This means that where a possession order has already been made, a tenant cannot generally be evicted before 5 October 2020 (a 14 days notice of the eviction appointment must be given unless the court shortens the notice period). And it means that the hearings of cases where no order has yet been made are unlikely to take place before around 28 October 2020.

The notice by the landlord requiring the tenant to vacate is being extended from the temporary three months to a temporary six months but more on this shortly when the necessary legislation has been published.

But the ban on bailiffs and High Court enforcement agents seizing goods where a judgment has gone unsatisfied is over.

Friday, 21 August 2020

COVID-19: FACE COVERING CHANGES: ENGLAND

Changes to face covering legal requirements in England come into force tomorrow Saturday 22 August 2020. Feast of the details at -https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/882/pdfs/uksiem_20200882_en.pdf