Confusing terms on Government eviction advice website

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    Confusing terms on Government eviction advice website

    On the government website advising on Covid related changes to notice periods here

    The website says under section 8 ground 8 ( rent arrears) that the notice period that applies now.:a) 4 weeks where arrears are at least 4 months

    b) 4 months where arrears are less than 4 months.

    Does anyone know if they really mean 'arrears' or do they actually mean 'unpaid' - before covid it was always 2 months unpaid - which means you could serve the notice at a month and a day as the second month was unpaid as soon as it fell due. It would only be 2 months in arrears after the full 2 months have passed.

    The experts in these matters agree on 4 weeks if more than 4 months... see

    But the problem is Thatcher's 1988 Housing Act which for s8 uses both "unpaid" & "arrears" - differing if eg monthly or 3-monthly rent..
    - see

    It seems safe to assume anything from Johnson's mob with be confusing or a lie.
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...


      The text of the Housing Act 1988 at Legislation has not yet been updated to the latest version.
      However, the most recent version uses the text refers to rent that is "unpaid" not in arrears and the amendment legislation changes the number of weeks (and not the type of debt), so I think it's reasonable to assume it's unpaid not arrears.

      More importantly, given the date today (20 July), the government intends to change it again at the end of the month; from 1 August the notice period should be 2 months for 4 months rent unpaid.
      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


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