Tenancy during COVID-19

On 23 March 2020, the Government announced residential tenancy restrictions for the Covid-19 lockdown period, to help residential tenants during this time. The restrictions included a six-month rent freeze, and three-month termination protection provisions.

A landlord is unable to end a tenancy (unless they meet strict criteria) for an initial period of three months from Thursday 26 March 2020 (an extension of another three months may occur) (“the Protection Term”). The tenant can stay in the rental property, regardless of whether a termination notice was given prior to this date.

In normal circumstances, when notice is given to terminate a periodic tenancy without an end date, and the tenant remains at the property for more than 90 days after the tenancy ends, a new notice is required to terminate the periodic tenancy. However, as the tenancy is unable to ‘end’, there is now an argument that the date for ending the tenancy could be extended, and the days before 26 March 2020 are able to be counted. For example, if the 42 days’ notice was given on 1 March 2020, the 25 days before the Protection Term could be counted as being part of the 42 days’ notice period, and after the Protection Term, only 17 days would remain.

This has not yet been tested and there are currently people who, for certainty, intend to issue new notices of termination after the Residential Tenancy measures are removed.

If you have a fixed tenancy that expires during the Protection Term, and you do not want to move out, the tenancy becomes a periodic tenancy. This means that it is a month-to-month tenancy, and 42-days’ notice will be required to end the tenancy after the Protection Term.

These restrictions on the landlord do not affect the tenant’s giving notice to end the tenancy. They can do this at any stage, as well as revoking a notice given before lockdown.

If you have any queries about tenancies during this Protection Term, please contact us on 07 343 9393.