From Robert Ulph on November 16, 2020
As part of the latest lockdown measures, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has issued new guidance for landlords and tenants which includes a further extension to the ban on evictions.
Forming part of the Coronavirus Act 2020 and to protect private and social tenants, the Act delayed when landlords can start proceedings to evict tenants. This meant that from 29 August 2020, landlords were not able to start possession proceedings unless they had given their tenants six months’ notice.
The provisions of the Act have now been extended through legislation and bailiffs have been asked not to enforce evictions during the national lockdown in England, from 5 November except in the most serious cases. These serious circumstances include cases of illegal occupation, anti-social behaviour, and fraud, for example.
Together with pause on enforcement of evictions starting in December that has been agreed with bailiffs, this means that evictions in England will not be enforced until the 11 January 2021 at the earliest.
“The UK Government has yet again extended the ban on evictions in England and this will come as a further blow to our members,” commented Timothy Douglas, Policy and Campaigns Manager, ARLA Propertymark. “It will cause further distress on landlords who are currently dealing with ongoing rental arrears and add further pressure on the courts to manage the backlog of cases.
“Letting agents and the whole of the private rented sector have been impacted as a result of Covid-19 and the UK Government must recognise that this is hitting both landlords and tenants financially. There needs to be a coordinated approach that better supports the needs of the industry and measures are put in place to further support tenants who have built up Covid-related arrears through no fault of their own.”
If any landlord is unsure about what this could mean to them or if they are already being adversely affected financially with mortgage payments and lost rent, I cannot stress enough to seek professional advice. The mortgage holiday will be extended, with applications open to 31 January 2021. Borrowers, including those with a BTL mortgage, who have been impacted by Coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a six-month holiday, and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to six months without this being recorded on their credit file.
I would also really urge any tenants who are facing financial difficulties to contact their landlord or letting agent as soon as possible to discuss what the options might be, as it is best to avoid rent arrears and any uncertainty.
As always, I will keep you up to date with any further changes but if you have any questions on these issues or anything else you need advice on in the local property market, please call me as I am always happy to help.