Support, Advice and Experience within the Property Market

Extension to Eviction Rules

From Robert Ulph on June 22, 2020

Back in March the Government passed the Coronavirus Act which provided additional powers to deal with the outbreak and included measures affecting the rented sector. One of these was to suspend new evictions from private rented accommodation which meant that landlords were not able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a three-month period. 

This was due to conclude on 24th June, but earlier this month the Government announced that the suspension of evictions has been extended, in England and Wales, for a further two months meaning that landlords will continue to be unable to start proceedings to evict tenants.

Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP specified the extension which takes the moratorium on evictions up until the end of August and to a total of five months “to ensure that renters continue to have certainty and security.”

If any landlord is unsure about what this means to them, if they have a potential chance of this coming up with their rented property, then I cannot stress enough to seek professional advice.

The Government has asked that agents and landlords work with tenants who are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic and exhaust all possible options – such as flexible payment plans which take into account a tenant’s individual circumstances – to ensure cases only end up in court as an absolute last resort.

Importantly, the change in law only applies to notices served on or after 26 March 2020. From 27 March 2020, the court service suspended all ongoing housing possession action. This means that neither cases either currently in or about to go in the system can progress to the stage where someone could be evicted. This suspension of housing possession action initially lasted for 90 days but has been extended until the end of August.

The Government said it was working with the judiciary to draw up new legal guidance which would ensure the courts were “better able to address the need for appropriate protection of all parties, including those shielding from Coronavirus”.

“Protecting vulnerable people has been our priority throughout this pandemic,” commented Robert Buckland QC MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. “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.”

The announcement builds on the radical package of measured taken during these difficult times to protect both renters and landlords affected by Coronavirus. As well as the change to evictions, these include extending mortgage payment holdings to include landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to the pandemic and delivering £180 million in Discretionary Housing Payments to councils across the country to support renters with housing costs in the private and social rented sectors.

As always, if you have any questions on these issues or anything in the local property market, please do not hesitate to call me.