The government has extended the evictions ban by two months until at least 31st May, the housing ministry has revealed.
The ban is an extension of the stay on bailiff eviction that has been repeated several times during the Covid pandemic and was due to expire on March 31st.
Also, as well as the bailiff evictions ban, landlords will still have to give tenants six months’ notice of their intention to evict as they do now, but also until May 31st.
This means in effect, a landlord who gives notice of eviction on 31st May will not be able to physically evict the tenant until November.
Two month wait
But the bailiff eviction extension is potentially the most disappointing news for the thousands of landlords waiting to evict tenants and who already have warrants lined up, who must now wait a further two months to evict.
As before, there will still be circumstances under which tenants can be evicted (see full list at bottom) including anti-social behaviour, domestic violence, trespass and extreme rent arrears.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick (pictured) says: “It is right that as we move through the roadmap, we ensure that renters continue to be supported.
“We have taken unprecedented action to support both commercial and residential tenants throughout the pandemic – with a £280 billion economic package to keep businesses running and people in jobs and able to meet their outgoings, such as rent.
“These measures build on the government’s action to provide financial support as restrictions are lifted over the coming months – extending the furlough scheme, business rates holiday and the Universal Credit uplift.”
Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association: “We welcome clarification that emergency measures in the rental market will be phased out in tandem with the overall roadmap out of lockdown restrictions,” he says.
“That said, the further extension to the repossessions ban will do nothing to help those landlords and tenants financially hit due to the pandemic. Given the cross-sector consensus for the need to address the rent debt crisis, it suggests the Government are unwilling to listen to the voices of those most affected.
Paul Shamplina, Landlord Action: “Nothing surprises us anymore when it comes to further extensions – but there are some urgent practicalities that need sorting out,” he says.
“Judges who oversee possession hearings must pre-approve exemption orders so that the most pressing cases can proceed once the bailiff ban is over. Otherwise, landlords face significant extra time delays and cost when they have to re-apply for exemptions at a later date.
“We are asking all our advocates to ask leave for exemptions at the substantive hearing so avoid this.”
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter: “These extensions will come as a relief to the frightened renters who’ve been flooding our helpline with calls. While the threat level from the virus is still high, it’s right that renters can stay safe in their homes,” she says.
“But as we follow the roadmap out of lockdown, the destination for renters remains unknown. The pandemic has repeatedly exposed just how broken private renting is, leaving many people hanging onto their homes by a thread. And, although the ban and longer notice periods are keeping renters safe for now, they won’t last forever.”
- Anti-social behaviour (4 weeks’ notice)
- False statements provided by the tenant (2 to 4 weeks’ notice)
- Over 6 months’ accumulated rent arrears (4 weeks’ notice)
- Breach of immigration rules under the ‘Right to Rent’ policy (3 months’ notice)