The government has announced that evictions ban is to be extended for another two months to the end of August.

The government has announced that the evictions ban introduced in March is to be extended for another two months to the end of August.

Secretary of State for Housing Robert Jenrick has just tweeted the news, saying that: “We have provided an unprecedented package of support for renters during this pandemic. Today, I am announcing that the government’s ban on evictions will be extended for another 2 months. That takes the moratorium on evictions to a total of 5 months.

“Eviction hearings will not be heard in courts until the end of August and no-one will be evicted from their home this summer due to coronavirus.

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“We are also working with the judiciary on proposals to ensure that when evictions proceedings do recommence, arrangements, including rules, are in place to assist the court in giving appropriate protections for those who have been particularly affected by coronavirus – including those tenants who have been shielding.”

Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Robert Buckland QC MP, said:

“Protecting vulnerable people has been our priority throughout this pandemic. Extending this ban will give people invaluable security in these turbulent times and work continues at pace to ensure vulnerable renters remain protected long after the ban ends.”

As we reported on May 4th, Jenrick told a parliamentary select committee held on Zoom that he wanted to extend the eviction ban past June 25th, when it was due to expire.

Today’s announcement is a compromise between the two opposing camps; landlords, who want to begin possession hearings against the worst cases of deliberate rent non payment of rent, and tenant organisations who wanted to see the ban extended for

And as we also reported yesterday, the NRLA has been working with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on crafting a pre-action protocol, which will require landlords to work with tenants much more closely before being granted a possession hearing.

Twitter announcement

“Expect the unexpected with this government, this is a very important policy announcement that has been made on twitter without any further details provided,” says Tim Frome of Landlord Action.

“It would appear that the practice direction that was put in place to allow the suspension of private and social possession claims has been extended to 31st August 2020. This is despite many courts beginning consultations with their stakeholders on starting again at end of June.

“With this further delay it is more important than ever that landlords discuss matter with their tenants and see if they can come to sensible arrangements on any issues tenants are facing from the virus. Landlords who had cases in court from before mid-March will be the ones most aggrieved by this decision. The rent arrears will continue and/or any anti social behavior is likely to be continuing.

“When the courts re-open at the end of August the backlogs will be horrendous. From a practical point of view trying to do hearings in July and August remotely was always going to be a challenge. Hopefully the courts will all be open from September and dedicated judges and time can be set up to deal with all the claims in the system.”

Shelter

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, says: “The government has reset the clock on the evictions ban, buying the families who were only weeks away from losing their homes, a vital stay of execution. But it’s only a stop-gap.  

“The ban hasn’t stopped people who’ve lost their jobs during this pandemic from racking up rent arrears. Even if they have a plan to pay them back, these debts will throw struggling renters straight back into the firing line of an automatic eviction as soon as the ban does lift.   

“It’s critical that Robert Jenrick uses this extension wisely to change the law and properly protect renters. Judges must be given the power to stop people losing their homes because of coronavirus, otherwise the country will face a tidal wave of homelessness after August. Sooner or later, the government has to stop kicking the can down the road.”  

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13 COMMENTS

  1. What about providing ‘an unprecedented package of support for Landlords’ during this pandemic. Landlords (except for BTL landlords) have had NO support.

    • The Government are in a panic realistically they are looking at 5 million people being unemployed by the end of the year, renters being evicted on masse because of defaults all turning up at the local councils who have a duty to house them, there is not enough social housing , other landlords won’t take these people on once they have been evicted because of rent arrears and like me many won’t take benefits claimants not unless someone gaurentees the rental payment. Another issue is cost the average rent is around £1000 a month, across 4.5 million people that’s £4.6 billion a month , so you could easily look at £3 billion a month needed . Problem is once renters get into the benefits cycle its very difficult to get them out because difference in wage / benefits once all the add ons come into play like no council tax free prescriptions, free school meals , no costs associated with work, difference between working and benefits is marginal . The government are testing the waters to see how far they can push landlords .

  2. Well order of possession was gained in March and bailiffs applied for on the 28/03. Now waited patiently for the bailiffs to be in action again and not recieved rent since Jan. I guess bailiffs are out of the job and landlords are going to get dirty themselves. No thought into protecting personal investment from a landlord view.

  3. If the government allowed rent payments direct to landlords for UC tenants then there wouldn’t be any evictions in that sector.
    Landlords only evict people who choose not to pay their rent or vandalise their property. Landlords do not evict good tenants.
    The UC47 doesn’t work for tenants who are hell bent on steal the rent to spend on drugs and alcohol.
    I now have six tenants out of ten who were in the process of being evicted for none payment of rent going back to late 2019. To now prevent me from reclaiming my properties to August 25th, and realistically it will be 2021 before I get them back. This will simply put me out of business. I will not only loose my business, I will also loose my own home and be in debt for the rest of my life. I am receiving no rent on these properties and I am unable to claim any money from the government to support myself and my family.

    • I am sorry, but that is not the entire truth. In the HMO where I live, there are 2 tenents who have been here for 6/7 years, always paying rent on time. Good honest hardworking people, me and another one for 2 years, the same. Not damaging propertym on the contrary, and my landlady evicted everyone last month. Even if it is illegal, even if we have legal contracts that say 2 months notice. If you know good honest landlords I would like you to please pass me their contacts. I have been renting in London for 8 years and have never met one. Good luck in getting your out though. It is not ok for people to abuse landlords either.

  4. Landlords are being left holding the bag again, while ever they ban evictions the gov is making the landlords pay. If the tenants cannot/won’t pay then the government should step in and pay the landlords directly. Why not?
    Many landlords have mortgages to pay, mortgage holidays just defer payments, more than 50% of tenants will never pay missed rents again leaving the landlords holding the bag for the government. When will the government recognise that landlords need protection too.
    All landlords should refuse any benefits tenants until the government pays them direct, their system is not working does not work only for the tenants as extra beer/cigarette money

    • I do not take any tenants on benefits , any tenants that end up on benefits will not have their lease renewed because of this problem of not getting paid the whole system is weighted against landlords. Rents should be paid direct to landlords , evictions for non payment should happen in days not months ,those that fail to pay and are evicted know they will be rehoused , this just encourages tenants not to pay. I can see landlords taking the law into their own hands shortly purely out of desperation

      • Steve says: I can see landlords taking the law into their own hands shortly purely out of desperation.”

        No, they must not do this. It’s not the 1960s when Rachman & Co evicted people with iron bars. Any landlord who did this would face a lengthy prison sentence. The courts would come down very hard.
        Bailiffs can only operate with a court order. One simply cannot engage a bailiff. There are very strict laws and the courts will generally fall on the side of the tenant as laws are designed to keep a roof over their heads.

  5. All well and good, but the government need to step up and gaurentee rental payments as its crippling many landlords who rely on this as an income to live on, Not all landlords are multi millionaires or have other forms of income, many rely on the income as part of their pension. We should not be the sacrifial Lambs. Many tenants are seeing this as a licence not to pay.

  6. We haven’t received rent since October 2019 on a property it was in the court system for a hearing when this all happened it looks like it going to be over a year before I can get them out.No help I have had to return to work to cover the expense on this property.The tenants are refusing to talk to me say they have the government on there side, it time we had the government on are side, allow cases like this to proceed.

  7. In my opinion, denying access to justice even temporarily is unprecedented in modern society and is breaching one of our fundamental human rights. Suddenly the extreme reaction to COVID-19 epidemic becomes as dangerous as the virus itself.

  8. There is no reason for the courts not to operate in civil cases as many hearings e.g. applications for permission to apply for judicial review are done ‘on the papers’. Some benefit tribunals allow claimants to submit their appeals on paper and the tribunal relies on documentation from DWP assessments as the DWP has not sent anyone to contest appeals for many years. In fact DWP relies on tribunal members to ‘do the right thing’ bearing in mind the great expenses to the public purse. So the evictions of non rent payers could be done by documentation only. Many ne-er do wells cannot express themselves verbally anyway beyond “smash de fasche in” (sic).
    Solicitors for these people can deal with applications via paperwork and fax and telephone conferences with several parties can easily be set up with modern telecommunications equipment. Advanced systems allow the participants to see each other. The government has been very silly in insisting paying the rent money to the tenants – as many have commented: it’s spent on drink, drugs, baccy and possibly even on sex workers too.
    All in all, it’s probably not an exaggeration to say that the tenants are living better than the landlord.

    Toby Madrigal is a freelance writer, observer and commentator. He is neither a landlord or a tenant although he does know a landlord.

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