Eviction Ban Extended – What does this mean for residential landlords?
Concerns about homelessness and crowded accommodation have risen during the COVID-19 crisis.
According to research by Citizens Advice, half a million private tenants in the UK are behind with their rent. The research had stated how this was becoming more of a problem for tenants, suggesting 58% of tenants were not in arrears last February before the COVID-19 pandemic had hit and impacted jobs and finances.
Landlord groups have called upon the UK government for financial support for those who do not have a large portfolio of properties and would have also been subjected to the threat of income loss or redundancy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In September 2020, courts had begun to clear the backlog of repossession cases starting with the most important, such as those involving domestic violence or anti-social behaviour. However, with tighter restrictions and a greater threat of COVID-19 transmissions charities and opposition parties have called for an extension to the bailiff ban.
On 5th November 2020, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick had announced that orders for possession would not be enforced in England whilst national lockdown restrictions are in place. Once the lockdown lifts, evictions may still not be carried out where the property is in an area subject to Tier 2 or Tier 3 local lockdown restrictions.
The Protection from Eviction Regulations came into force on 17 November 2020, applying to England alone and came to an end on 11 January 2021 – labelled the “Christmas Truce”.
During the ‘truce’ residential evictions would not be carried out in England unless for exceptional circumstances such as trespassing, anti-social behaviour, domestic violence, false statements, death of the tenant where the house is unoccupied and where 9-months rent remains unpaid before 23 March 2020.
Rent arrears accrued after 23rd March 2020 were to be disregarded.
However, the eviction ban that was set to expire on the 11th January has since been extended “for all but the most egregious cases” until at least the 31st March 2021 in England and will be reviewed thereafter.
Separate bans are in place in Scotland and Wales with different conditions. In both nations, where housing is a devolved issue, the eviction ban has been extended. Scotland’s ban due to expire on 22 January and Wales due to expire on 11 January 2021, have both been extended to 31 March 2021 and will be reviewed thereafter. Rules in Northern Ireland requiring landlords to give 12-weeks’ notice before moving to eviction proceedings have also been extended to March 2021.
Any unpaid or outstanding rent that continues to accrue however can elicit action by landlords to take the first initial steps to recover rent arrears and/or possession of the property.
Specialist legal advice for residential landlords
If you are a residential landlord who wishes to discuss your current situation and the steps that can be taken, then please do not hesitate to contact us. Call 0117 906 9400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org