08 January 2021

Important Information for LANDLORDS and TENANTS - What are your rights during lockdown?

 

Evictions ban to be extended for ANOTHER six weeks

It has not been easy for Landlords and Tenants during this pandemic.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced today that the current ban on bailiff evictions is to be extended for six weeks until 21st February 2021

“We are extending the ban on bailiff evictions – helping to protect the most vulnerable renters,” says Robert Jenrick.

The announcement, which has been widely expected, will not go down well among some landlords.

But the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) says it has secured some leeway from the government, in the form an exemption for landlords with arrears greater than six months, an improvement on the previous position of nine months’ rent arrears.

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

“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.”

Robert Jenrick added: “This winter, we are continuing in this vein and redoubling our efforts to help those most in need.”

It appears most landlords and tenants have, on the whole, been working well together throughout the crisis to create payment plans and strategies that keep people in their homes.

However a further extension to the ban without additional provisions for landlords and tenants could be storing up even more trouble for the future.

Mark Hayward, Chief Policy Advisor for Propertymark, says: “In light of the recent lockdown, it is no surprise the UK Government has made today’s announcement, yet over the past few weeks the UK Government has held off updates about evictions to the sector making it impossible for agents to respond and plan for the difficult winter months ahead.

“The whole of the private rented sector has been impacted as a result of COVID-19 but we must recognise that the courts already faced a backlog of cases prior to the pandemic. Although the new mediation pilot will help it is important to take steps back towards normality so that both landlords and tenants have access to the justice system, while putting measures in place to offer further support to tenants who have built up COVID-related arrears through no fault of their own.”

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Shelter, says: “You cannot follow the order to stay at home if you don’t have one – making the government’s decision to stop bailiffs from physically evicting people this winter the right call. While this ban doesn’t halt the evictions process entirely, it is the minimum required to keep more people safe in their homes.

“Even with the bailiff ban extended until February, we know people will still become homeless. The government’s extra £10 million for rough sleeping support and to make sure people are registered with a GP is very welcome and essential.”

Summary

Tenants cannot be evicted by a bailiff.

Landlords continue to be required to give 6-month notice periods to tenants except in the most serious circumstances. e.g. anti-social behaviour, illegal occupation, death of a tenant where the property is unoccupied, fraud, perpetrators of domestic abuse and extreme rent arrears equivalent to 6 months’ rent.

Tenants are advised to continue to pay rent. Those tenants suffering from loss of income can claim Universal Credit and seek help with rent payments.

Landlords and Tenants can negotiate a repayment plan to pay off arrears and continue the tenancy.

Tenants need to remember that many landlords have buy-to-let mortgages to pay.

None of us wants to see anyone homeless.

 

Read the official announcement in full.

Thanks for reading

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