As part of the sweeping up process this week in preparation for the dissolution of Parliament on 12 April a number of bills have been pushed through. One of these is the Mortgage Repossessions (Protection of Tenants etc) Act 2010 which received its royal assent on 9 April.
This Act is intended to provide protection for tenants who find themselves being evicted by a landlord’s mortgagee where the landlord has failed to get proper consent for the let. Where a landlord has obtained consent then the tenant will have a right to remain in the property until the end of the tenancy unless the mortgagee can obtain possession using Ground 2 under the Housing Act 1988. Where a landlord has failed to obtain consent the tenant has no rights at all and the mortgagee is not required to honour the tenancy agreement.
The Act gives the Court the power to suspend an order for possession by up to two months. The Court can only exercise this power prior to the Bailiff actually executing the order for possession. The tenant must apply to the Court for a suspension and they will also need to show that they have previously asked the mortgagee for a similar suspension and the mortgagee has refused to allow it.
The suspension power can only be exercised once in relation to a tenancy so tenants cannot keep making further applications. The protection of the new act only applies to tenancies under the Housing Act 1988 or Rent act 1977. Common law tenants do not have any protection.
This Act is not actually in force yet as a commencement order needs to be made. This will presumably not happen at this stage and it will be for any new government coming into power after the election to decide whether they wish to bring the provisions of the Act into force.