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New section 21 and section 8 notices seeking possession have been produced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (“MHCLG”) along with supplementary notes to accompany the section 21 notice.

The updated forms make it clear that regardless of the reason for seeking possession, tenants are entitled to at least 3 months’ notice before a landlord can apply for a possession order, to reflect the changes brought in by Schedule 29 of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

However, some commentators have questioned the need for new possession notices to be used, given that Schedule 29 provides that any reference in the prescribed forms to the length of notice required is changed from what it was previously to “3 months”.

The validity of the new notices has also been called into question on the basis that a statutory instrument may be required to make these new forms the prescribed forms, pursuant to the relevant provisions of the Housing Act 1988.

A final point to note is that the new section 8 notice contains an error. The words “I must pay my rent” within section 3 have clearly been inserted by mistake!

For now, the general consensus appears to be that the new forms should be used from 27 March 2020, in accordance with MHCLG’s guidance, but some uncertainty remains which is obviously undesirable.

It is hoped that clarification on this issue will be provided soon, and we will be keeping an eye out.

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.