The Housing and Planning Act 2016 has brought many concerns to both landlords, agents and tenants, from banning order offences which can ban a person from the property industry (which we have written about previously) to a more clarified procedure of recovering abandoned premises let on Assured Shorthold Tenancy (“AST”) which this post focuses on. In the case of an abandoned premises section 57 of part 3 to the Housing and Planning Act 2016 permits a landlord to take possession of a premises without a Court order if the below circumstances are met:
- The tenancy relates to premises in England,
- the rent condition is met (described below),
- all three required warning notices are served on the tenant(s), any named occupiers and any deposit payers; and
- no tenant, named occupier or deposit payer has responded in writing to any of those notices before the date specified in the warning notices.
The rent condition is that where: (a) rent is payable weekly or fortnightly and at least eight consecutive weeks rent is unpaid,
(b) rent is payable monthly and at least two consecutive months rent is unpaid,
(c) rent is payable quarterly and at least one quarters rent is more than three months in arrears, or
(d) rent is payable yearly and at least three months rent is more than three months in arrears.
A tenant in such circumstances can apply to the county court for an order reinstating the tenancy if the tenant has a good reason for having failed to respond to the warning notices. Part 3 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 is expected to come into force in October 2017, but it could be sooner. We have advised many landlords and agent of how to recover premises which they believe to be abandoned, but those who are uncertain of the process now have clarity on the process which is soon to be in force.