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Skills for jobs

14 May 2021

The UK Government set out in the Queen’s speech on 11 May, its legislative plans for adult education and training for the next parliamentary session with a proposed Skills and Post-16 Education Bill. Read More...

Commonhold Council launched

14 May 2021

An advisory panel of leasehold and industry groups has been launched to inform the UK Government on the future of commonhold homeownership. Read More...

Leasehold Reform Bill published

13 May 2021

The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill has been published today, 13 May, and when implemented aims to help tackle inconsistency and ambiguity of ground rents for future leaseholders. Read More...

Changes to notice periods for evictions

12 May 2021

The UK Government has announced that from 1 June 2021 notice periods in England that are currently six months, will now be reduced to four months. Read More...

 

Breathing Space Scheme introduced

Tuesday 04 May 2021

From today, Tuesday 4 May, The Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space Moratorium and Mental Health Crisis Moratorium) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 come into force, which provides a temporary period of relief from creditors for individuals in England and Wales to help those with problem debt.

Any person who is in debt can seek a moratorium from an approved debt advice provider. There are two types of breathing space that a tenant may enter into. Firstly, a standard breathing space that will last for a maximum of 60 days. Secondly, a mental health crisis breathing space which ends 30 days after the tenant’s treatment finishes.

Once a Breathing Space has started, no enforcement action can take place against the debtor or anyone who is jointly liable with them for a Breathing Space debt.

Propertymark FAQs

What you need to be aware of

Letting agents should be aware of the impact on landlords, especially those seeking possession due to rent arrears.

If a tenant has successfully applied for a Breathing Space and has included rent arrears in their application, then the landlord will be notified by the Insolvency Service. In these limited circumstances, it means:

  • Landlords and agents must put on hold any action they are taking in relation to the rent arrears (including court action) for as long as the Breathing Space lasts
  • A Section 8 notice cannot be issued for rent arrears (grounds 8,10 & 11) but can on any other available grounds

Creditors will need to prepare to receive notifications from the Insolvency Service and process them in order to implement the protections. Agents and landlords can contact breathingspace@insolvency.gov.uk to discuss their options for receiving and managing notifications.

UK Government guidance

New Section 8 notice

Any Section 8 notices issued and served on a tenant from 4 May must now include details of the Breathing Space Scheme and Section 8 notices issued with an out-of-date form will be invalid. A new Section 8 form has been published which must now be used when serving notice on tenancies under Section 8 in England and Wales.

The Bank Holiday weekend may mean that notices sent out in the second half of last week, may not be deemed served until today, 4 May making them invalid without the new information. In this case, notices should be re-served with the new form Section 8 notice. 

Section 21 and Section 8 Notices – England and Wales

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The changes introduced are to allow those struggling financially to have a limited time in which to seek advice and formulate a plan to move forward. The scheme will have a large impact on the current processes followed by agents and landlords when taking action against rent arrears, and it is now hugely important that those dealing with rent debt are aware of the new scheme and the changes in working it will bring.

Mark Hayward

Mark Hayward
Propertymark Chief Policy Advisor