We have got used to new regulations being laid late on a Friday afternoon, which might explain why I’d missed these, as they were cunningly sneaked out on a Tuesday.
The Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) (England) (Amendment) and Suspension (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 basically provide for a new prescribed Form 6A for England (for a section 21 notice) to include the 6 month notice period that took effect on, well, Saturday 29 August. The regulations came into effect on 2 September, the Wednesday. So a couple of days worth of confusion and legal grey areas where the notice period was 6 months, but the prescribed form 6A (which must be used) was for 3 months notice. Heaven help anyone who served a section 21 notice on 31 August or 1 September.
Form 3 (for section 8) was amended by The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 I think, at reg 3(11)(a).
Both form 3 and form 6A have been updated on gov.uk. In the case of form 6A, it appears it was updated twice since 28 August, but only once with statutory authority.
It is all going swimmingly well.
Update 8 Sept. So, this is what appears to have happened. The Coronavirus Act (Amendment) regulations made on 28 August, amended Schedule 29 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 so as to provide that Form 6A should be read ‘as if it said six months’ rather than the previous three months. A new form 6A was put up on Saturday 29 Aug with six months notice inserted. I was always rather dubious that this was an effective way of amending a prescribed form, and it appears that the Govt agree, as these present regulations set out a whole new Form 6A.
However, these regulations aren’t time limited, so at whatever point the six months notice for a section 21 notice reverts to two months, or whatever other changed period, there will need to be further regulations and a new prescribed form 6A.