Ban on evictions extended by 2 months to further protect renters

Millions of renters across England and Wales will receive greater protection after the government extended the suspension of new evictions until 23 August.

The extension announced by the Housing Secretary today (5 June 2020) takes the moratorium on evictions to a total of 5 months to ensure that renters continue to have certainty and security.  The government remains committed to ensuring that no one is evicted from their home this summer due to coronavirus.

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “We have provided an unprecedented package of support for renters during this pandemic. Today, I am announcing that the government’s ban on evictions will be extended for another 2 months. That takes the moratorium on evictions to a total of 5 months. Eviction hearings will not be heard in courts until the end of August and no-one will be evicted from their home this summer due to coronavirus.”

The 2 month extension will come into force on 25 June, ensuring there’s no gap between the existing ban and the extension, and also applies to home owners, commercial and leasehold.

Ministers are also working with the judiciary, legal representatives and the advice sector on arrangements, including new rules, which will mean that courts are better able to address the need for appropriate protection of all parties, including those shielding from coronavirus. The new court rules to be proposed by the Civil Procedure Rule Committee (CPRC) will ensure vulnerable renters will be protected when the suspension of evictions ends, with judges being provided with all the information necessary to make just decisions.

The CPRC is an advisory non-departmental public body, made up of judges, barristers, solicitors and lay advice members, which makes rules to set out the practice and procedure to be followed in the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal, the High Court and the County Court. The representatives from the judiciary, government, advice sectors, legal profession, Legal Aid agency, charities and pro bono organisations all agree that both landlords and tenants must be protected during the coronavirus pandemic.

Where tenants do experience financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic, the government is clear that landlords and tenants should work together 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.

Over the coming weeks, the government is taking careful steps to ease lockdown measures, alongside decisive steps already taken to unlock the housing market so people can move if they need to – for example where they may need to move for work or for family reasons.

While the government is taking unprecedented action to protect tenants and landlords during these times, the ultimate ambition is to transition out of these measures at the end of August to allow the market to operate while ensuring people have appropriate access to justice.

Today’s announcement builds on the radical package of measured taken in England and Wales during these difficult times to protect both renters and landlords affected by coronavirus, including:

  • The introduction of emergency legislation so landlords won’t be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a 3 month period which will remain in place until at least September.
  • Extending mortgage payment holdings to include landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to the pandemic.
  • Supporting businesses to continue to pay their staff through the furlough scheme, as well as strengthening the welfare safety net with a nearly £7 billion boost to the welfare system and increasing Local Housing Allowance.
  • 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.
  • Guidance which helps landlords and tenants to work together to resolve issues at the earliest opportunity.

Image: Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, UK  © REET

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About Ron Wheatley

Ron Wheatley reports on changes in legislation related to property management.

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