The government has announced a further extension of the eviction ban for at least six weeks until 21st February, at which point it will be reviewed.

Although this is cataclysmic news for the thousands of landlords waiting to evict tenants via a bailiff, the government has heeded the NRLA’s calls or a widening of the circumstances when evictions can go ahead.

It is understood that landlords will be able to enforce possession orders if their tenants are more than six months in arrears irrespective of when the arrears accrued and therefore no longer have to pre-date Covid.

Other enforcement exceptions remains in place including domestic violence and anti-social behaviour.

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At the moment landlords can initiate possession claims via the court system and be granted orders after the courts re-opened in September, but since early November bailiffs in England and Wales have only been able to execute possession orders for a narrow set of reasons including extreme rent arrears and domestic violence.

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“The repossessions ban is a sticking plaster that will ultimately lead to more people losing their homes,” says Ben Beadle (pictured), Chief Executive of the NRLA.

“It means tenants’ debts will continue to mount to the point where they have no hope of paying them off leading eventually to them having to leave their home.

“Instead the government should recognise the crisis facing many tenants and take immediate action to enable them to pay their debts as is happening in Scotland and Wales. The objective should be to sustain tenancies in the long term and not just the short term.” 

Retrospective

LandlordZONE also understands that the new six-month limit on arrears will be retrospective, so landlords who have court orders pending will not be able to proceed if their rent arrears are older than six months.

The announcement has been widely expected since Boris Johnson announced the new national lockdown on Monday, after which a growing chorus of political and housing figures and organisations have been calling for the government to act.

On Wednesday, Johnson hinted at a likely evictions extension, saying that the current ‘Christmas truce’ due to expire on Monday was ‘under review’.

Paul Shamplina of Landlord Action says: “This is some positive news, that landlords can proceed now with 6 months arrears, rather then nine months prior to March 2020 and I worry about the backlogs but we await the final details.

“Landlord Action has so many desperate landlords at Landlord Action that have cases ongoing now for over 18 months and are stuck at the final stage of awaiting an eviction date, with very little prospect of recouping the arrears.  Well done to the NRLA for campaigning for this.”

Oli Sherlock (pictured), Head of Insurance at lettings platform Goodlord, says: “Many landlords are now nearing breaking point. Scores are facing financial difficulties as a result of unpaid rent and ongoing mortgage costs, with a few facing uncommunicative tenants who are refusing to vacate properties even when leases come to an end (although this is a minority of tenants).

“Unless more support is put in place for those struggling, we can expect to see a large number of landlords withdraw their lets from the housing market over the next year. This will put pressure on a vital source of housing at a time of critical need. Decision makers must start thinking about how tenants and landlords alike can recover from these challenges during and following the stay on evictions.”



10 COMMENTS

  1. ““The repossessions ban is a sticking plaster that will ultimately lead to more people losing their homes,” says Ben Beadle (pictured), Chief Executive of the NRLA.”

    And more people getting ccjs which will seriously hinder their likelihood of obtaining another private let, along with the other disadvantages and difficulties a ccj brings.

    ““It means tenants’ debts will continue to mount to the point where they have no hope of paying them off leading eventually to them having to leave their home.”

    And being unable to secure another private let.

    ““Instead the government should recognise the crisis facing many tenants and take immediate action to enable them to pay their debts as is happening in Scotland and Wales. The objective should be to sustain tenancies in the long term and not just the short term.” ”

    Exactly! there is crisis facing not only tenants, but landlords too and soon it will be a crisis local councils and the government is going to have to deal with. I predict we’ll have tent cities springing up, and overcrowded housing, by this time next year.

    • The Gov’t don’t care, they’re out to destroy our businesses, the court system is complicit in this aim. I had a PO in February 2020, our valid application for a WoP was returned by the Court in April having not been dealt with, our solicitors missed this until late September when we re-applied, a WoP was issued in late October, then Buckland wrote to the court bailiffs asking if they would mind not doing their jobs (which they agreed to). We then had the current eviction ban with the new exceptions (excess rent arrears in our case), our solicitors made an application for the WoP to be enforced, the court managed to “overlook” this application for four weeks with the pathetic excuse that they failed to take the Court fees (entirely their deliberate error), our application was put before a judge (before Xmas) and we await his verdict (he’s not a housing judge apparently) so has to take advice. That is how they have conspired to delay our eviction, we await their next load of nonsense for more delays. HMCTS are total and utter scum.

    • Unfortunately few LL will bother with CCJ.
      We all know how useless the Civil Recovery system is

      Therefore it will be the case as most tenants know that they will easily be able to source another mug LL who won’t carry out effective referencing.

      So feckless rent defaulting tenants will get away with it as there is always another mug LL around the corner.

      You only have to consider the feckless rent defaulting tenants who cause LL annual losses of about £9 billion.

      If referencing was so effective none of these tenants who caused these losses would be able to source new rental accommodation………………………………but they all do.

      Tenants know they can get away with rent defaulting so they are hardly likely to take on a loan to pay rent arrears even if Govt offered one.

      • I always ensure rent defaulters get a ccj – absolutely always. I also check tenants carefully and any ccjs mean they don’t get a property from me. A ccj isn’t given lightly and a tenant has to do a lot of ignoring before a ccj is given.

        I’ve got a feeling landlords will be much more careful with their referencing after covid. I will be asking for proof that the tenant was up to date with rent payments via a rent statement from the previous landlord. I’ll be double checking everything.

  2. Another nail in the coffin for both the PRS and for affordable rental availability.

    In future a high proportion of landlords will sell up , and those that stay in the market will raise both the bar in terms of tenants they’ll accept and rents.
    I’m unsure what the likes of Shelter think will be the eventual result of this continual demonisation of landlords. It appears they expect to have landlords provide high quality, low cost ,quality accommodation free of charge to tenants who can have whatever pets they wish and on effectively a permanent basis.
    When property isn’t worth investing in no one will do it . The onus to provide shelter for a high number of currently happy tenants will then fall on the local councils who aren’t in a position to provide that support.
    I forecast a situation where landlords exit the market in droves, we then risk having higher homelessness and people living in tents on communal land.

  3. Well said Paul Barrett and Gtim.
    It’s time that landlords had the upper hand instead of being ruled by councils courts and every other interfering body.
    As landlords we haven’t got a leg to stand on.
    It won’t be long before it becomes compulsory for us to have to tuck the tenants up in bed at night saying there there, don’t worry about your arrears, sleep well……. I know I won’t !

  4. It is such a liberty; to lay tenants” problems at the feet of landlords. That landlords are somehow responsible for the welfare of their tenants, aside from a limited amount of good will, is just bizarre. Yet we are now in a situation where tenants’ welfare trumps landlords’, with many landlords facing financial difficulty or ruin. However you slice and dice this, it just fails a basic fairness test. Full stop!

  5. Well fellow Landlords, I would like to know how it is that if I go into Sainsburys or Tesco, and walk out with my groceries without paying I have committed a criminal offence, regardless of whatever my financial situation might be. And YET,…….. if I rent a house from a private landlord and don’t pay the rent for months on end, mounting up to thousands of £’s of debt, the government think I should be able to stay there, and this is not regarded as a criminal offence! How ever can that be right?? What really winds me up is when a tenant who is in arrears then goes out and buys Smart TV’s, computers, Sky TV and designer clothes. They then drink and smoke, yet recon they can’t afford to pay to keep a roof over their heads. We most certainly live in a crazy country!

  6. Good point John.
    That’s because tenants (not all) know every trick in the book to avoid paying rent. They have far better things to spend the rent money on and do so because they know they can get away with it.
    The government don’t give a toss !

  7. It would be much more helpful if the Govt came up with a way to stop tenants falling into debt i.e. loan for paying rent given direct to LL’ because then there would be no need for evictions. All that the evictions ban does is kick the can down the road and put off the day of mass evictions, mass CCJs, mass exodus from PRS by LLs and a huge increase in homelessness. Setting up a loan scheme, as in Scotland and Wales, would keep tenants in homes, LLs in the PRS, CCJs for only the worst offenders and maintain the size of the PRS – necessary in these times when social housing is not available to any but those in the most dire circumstances.

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