Epsom & Ewell Borough Council has reminded landlords of their responsibility to follow the correct legal processes when ending tenancies.
The government has extended the provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020. This means that landlords are not able to start possession proceedings in most circumstances unless they have given their tenants six months’ notice.
The council has seen a rise in reports from privately rented tenants being threatened with eviction, in circumstances breaking both the spirit and letter of the regulations.
Councillor Barry Nash, Chair of the Community and Wellbeing Committee, said “As a local authority we have a duty to prevent homelessness and if you are considering serving notice on your tenant, please contact us first as we may be able to offer assistance to resolve the problem.
“We remind landlords that they must follow the correct legal process to evict their tenants and harassment and illegal eviction is a criminal offence. This council will take enforcement action against anyone committing this offence.
“As part of the national effort to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, it is vital that local authorities, landlords and tenants work together and the government has advised landlords not to commence or continue possession proceedings during the coronavirus outbreak without a very good reason”.
Under the current regulations, tenants must receive a minimum six months’ notice of the ending of a tenancy. Shorter notice periods apply where the landlord has to evict the tenant because of rent arrears of six months or more, anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse or false statement.