Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed that the government is to extend the stay on eviction proceedings by four weeks in England and Wales, but has also added new six month notice periods to be in place until at least 31st March 2021, effectively bringing in a six-month ban.

When courts do resume eviction hearings they will prioritise the most ‘egregious cases’, ensuring landlords are able to progress the most serious cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour and other crimes, as well as where landlords have not received rent for over a year and would otherwise face unmanageable debts.

“I know this year has been challenging and all of us are still living with the effects of COVID-19. That is why today I am announcing a further four week ban on evictions, meaning no renters will have been evicted for six months,” says Jenrick.

“I am also increasing protections for renters – six month notice periods must be given to tenants, supporting renters over winter.

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“However, it is right that the most egregious cases, for example those involving anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse perpetrators, begin to be heard in court again; and so when courts reopen, landlords will once again be able to progress these priority cases.”

Tim Frome, Head of Legal of Landlord Action: “This is obviously very disappointing news as the suspension was due to end this Sunday on 23rd August.

“A new process was set out whereby landlords were required to provide specific information to the court in a ‘reactivation notice’ which would then result in the matter proceeding either with a hearing (rent arrears case) or a judge deciding on the paperwork (s.21 case).

“We followed the reactivation notice process and asked all clients to provide us with the relevant information. Everything has been prepared and ready to be sent to the Courts on Monday, being the first day we could send the reactivation notices out.”

It now appears that the legislation which brought that process in has been replaced although it is not yet clear how this has been achieved at the 11th hour.

Full details of how the evictions ban will be extended have not been published yet, but at one point earlier today it had been hoped that some evictions would be allowed to progress – such as those involving anti-social behaviour and extreme rent arrears.

Ben Beadle, CEO of the National Residential Landlords Association (pictured, right) says: “A blanket extension is unacceptable, especially so close to the deadline. 

“An enormous amount of work as gone into finding a balance between supporting tenants who have been affected by the pandemic and preventing significant financial harm to landlords, in accordance with the Government’s promise. This announcement satisfies no-one.

“Landlords have been left powerless in exercising their legal right to deal with significant arrears unrelated to Covid-19, antisocial behaviour and extremely disruptive tenants who make life miserable for their neighbours and housemates. 

“Private landlords cannot be expected to foot the bill for government failure. There must now be a plan to support households to pay their bills and to compensate landlords fully for their lost income.

Evictions expert Paul Shamplina (right) says: “This is absolutely devastating news for those landlords who already had possession cases ongoing prior to the pandemic. It means those landlords with problem tenants who have been causing anti-social behaviour or withholding rent for reasons unrelated to Covid-19 face a further delay in regaining possession of the properties.

“Whilst no-one who has been impacted by Covid-19 should face losing their home, there are many cases that are unrelated and it is causing landlords extreme hardship and misery.”

Timothy Douglas, Policy and Campaigns Manger, ARLA Propertymark comments on the ban on evictions: “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.

“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.”

The decision comes just a few days after Northern Ireland announced it is to extend its ban for another three months.

10 COMMENTS

  1. It is now clear that this government expects landlords to bear the burden of Covid. It has provided tenants with what they refer to as an ‘oven ready’ protection: Tenants who have stopped paying now have yet another 6 months to exploit the system. They will be able to live rent free for at least a year and then ‘do a runner’
    Based on the precedent set by the small business grant, the government should now put landlords in the same category and make equitable awards.
    I was under the impression that the judiciary was independent of the administration but that now seems to have changed.
    No doubt the govenment has claculated that there are more votes to be had from tenants than from landlords

  2. Absolute Joke, non of the renters now living free on our backs will ever pay the debt off, its likely to send many landlords to the wall.

  3. Definitely not a level playing field. Renters are protected but Landlords must shoulder the responsiblity of renters’ debt, depsite having mortgage and other expense obligations. Many Landlords have rental income as their only income, but can’t claim benefits because they have assets tied up in the property. The government needs to stop kicking this down the road and come up with a scheme to protect Landlords with the same protections afforded to Tenants. From the article above it sounds like Landlords have now got to be on the verge of going bust before the courts will consider a rent arrears case. Very wrong.

  4. If we go shopping for say food, can we plead that Covid has affected us and we cannot pay the bill, but nevertheless our family will starve without food? Can we do the same with electricity and gas? The list goes on and on. I for one am willing to work with as many Landlords as possible to fight this. The Landlords Representative Bodies take their fees but does not do anything at all. I believe they are in bed with the government. Let’s get together and fight this abominable treatment. Most landlords work hard to supply their tenants with good decent and lawful homes, but this government is hell bent on destroying us all. They want to buy our properties at rock bottom prices and form large conglomerates of housing which can charge what they like and behave how they like and kowtow to the government.
    I leave my email at the end of this page therefore you can contact me should you wish to fight against this tyranny.

  5. So I have a tenant who hasn’t paid any rent for 8 months and now will probably be another 6. This is ludicrous especially when I know she earns more than me. This is so unfair and there needs to be something put in place to protect landlords against tenants who clearly think they can just abuse us!!!!!

  6. Yet again, a kick in the teeth for law abiding and tax paying landlords. The vast majority of private letting landlords are doing so because of past pensions and investment losses caused by the financial crash and poor overall governance. They are trying to be financially responsible.

    To then have the Government kick you in the teeth also, by not offering any support at all, is totally unfair.
    Yes, Tenants need to be protected but so do landlords.

    A pandemic like this thankfully , should be, a rare occurrence but it is unconscionable that government punishes large groups of taxpayers who provide essential services to the many tenants that the government itself has failed to support though social housing.

    Add to this that a minority of tenants receiving housing benefit do not always pass on that money to the Landlord and you start to have the perfect storm scenario where tenants run up huge debt (supported by Government legislation) that they cannot repay. This results in bad credit history for the tenant and possible repossession of the property for the Landlord. This then eliminates the tenants from the private landlord sector (who would take them on with bad credit history?) whilst reducing the number of available properties for private rental and all the time adding to the housing shortfall the Government finds itself in.

    When will the Government realise that it is biting the hand that feeds it through treating 2.6 million private Landlords (a vast majority,I would humbly suggest, being Tory voters) in this manner?

    We need to see comprehensive Private Landlord Support being brought in, just as with the self employed and the many furloughed workers, in order to avoid the inevitable.

    Covid-19 is not the fault of the Private Landlords so why is it that Government continues to penalise them whilst seemingly helping nearly everybody else out?

  7. Landlords like me whose only income is rental from one humble flat to top up a meagre part pension from the government, or any landlord who can’t afford to be a charity, will need to ask new tenants to pay 6 months in advance then. Can’t possibly take the risk otherwise, and someone who can truly afford to rent the flat won’t mind paying up front since it’ll have to be paid anyway. Blame it on the government. Some of us don’t have other options.

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