On 4 May 2021, The Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space Moratorium and Mental Health Crisis Moratorium) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 came into force.
The scheme, known as Breathing Space, has been introduced to provide people facing financial difficulties the opportunity to obtain the following legal protection:
- Up to 60 days protection from creditors (breathing space moratorium) and;
- Mental health crisis Breathing Space for the full duration of the person’s crisis treatment, plus another 30 days (mental health crisis moratorium)
Landlords, and their agents, need to have a full understanding of the Regulations and the impact of them to ensure they minimise the risk of ineffective action and non-compliance. As a landlord, if you are advised that your tenant is in a Breathing Space you must not contact them about any rent arrears, stop any enforcement action (unless you have permission from the Court) and stop all interest charges. Furthermore, the Regulations restrict the ability to serve a Section 8 notice for rent arrears during this period and from 4 May 2021 a new prescribed form must be used which contains references to the Regulations. You can still however, serve a Section 8 Notice relying on the other grounds for possession and it remains possible to serve a Section 21 Notice to terminate an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, giving the relevant notice periods.
A Breathing Space can be accessed by contacting a local authority or by a professional debt advisor authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Eleanor Russell is a Solicitor based at the Helliwell House office in Wroxham. For details or to book an appointment please contact Eleanor Russell on 01692 581231.
This article aims to supply general information, but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek specific advice.