The government has today extended its ban on evictions for renters affected by COVID-19 by four weeks. This means that no legal evictions will have taken place for 6 months.
Once this eviction ban has ended, further protection is planned for tenants in the form of changes to eviction notice periods. The government plans to enforce a 6 month notice period for all evictions, bar those it says raise other 'serious issues' such as anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse perpetrators, until at least the end of March.
When courts do resume eviction hearings they will prioritise the most egregious cases. This will enable landlords to progress the most serious cases, not covered by this extended notice period, as well as where landlords have not received rent for over a year and would otherwise face unmanageable debts.
As a result of the government's intervention on evictions so far during the COVID-19 crisis, 87% of tenants have continued to pay full rent since the start of the pandemic, with a further 8% agreeing reduced fees with their landlords.
With coronavirus still posing an ongoing risk to public health, the government has committed to follow expert advice on the future of this scheme and to take action where necessary to further protect households in both the private and social rented sector are supported over winter.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said:
I know this year has been challenging and all of us are still living with the effects of COVID-19. That is why today I am announcing a further 4 week ban on evictions, meaning no renters will have been evicted for 6 months.
I am also increasing protections for renters – 6 month notice periods must be given to tenants, supporting renters over winter.
However, it is right that the most egregious cases, for example those involving anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse perpetrators, begin to be heard in court again; and so when courts reopen, landlords will once again be able to progress these priority cases.
Keir Starmer MP, Leader of the Labour Party, said:
BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS
This eleventh hour U-turn was necessary, but such a brief extension means there is a real risk that this will simply give renters a few more weeks to pack their bags.
Boris Johnson has been warned for months about the looming evictions crisis, but stuck his head in the sand.
People living in rented accommodation should not be paying the price for this Government’s incompetence.
Section 21 evictions must be scrapped and renters must be given proper support. The ban should not be lifted until the Government has a credible plan to ensure that no-one loses their home as a result of coronavirus.