This week, we have had confirmation that estate and lettings agency offices can stay open during national restrictions in England. Government have also made further announcements on evictions, and the extension of the furlough scheme.
Please see the latest updates below:
- Evictions will not be enforced whilst national restrictions are in place, except for the most egregious cases such as anti-social behaviour and fraud
- Taken with the winter pause on enforcement of evictions, this means that there will not be any bailiff activity until 11 January 2021 at the earliest except in the most serious circumstances,
- Six month notice periods will remain in place until at least the end of March 2021, except for most serious cases.
- Housing possession claims are able to be actioned through the courts, but evictions will not be enforced except in the most serious circumstances. These serious circumstances are cases of illegal occupation, anti-social behaviour, fraud, eviction of a perpetrator of domestic abuse in social housing and where a property is unoccupied following the death of a tenant.
MHCLG have announced plans to introduce an exemption for extreme pre-COVID rent arrears and they will provide more details on this in due course.
- COVID guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities in the private rented sectors in the context of Coronavirus (COVID-19) is available here.
- Court user guidance to support landlords and tenants in the private rented sector understand the possession action process and new rules within the court system in England and Wales is available here.
- Read more detail here.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until the end of March 2021 for all parts of the UK. For claim periods running to 31 January 2021, the UK Government will pay 80% of employees’ usual wages for hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
- The UK Government will review the policy in January to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more.
- It was also confirmed that the Job Retention Bonus will no longer be paid in February 2021, as CJRS will be available at that time. An alternative retention incentive will be put in place at the appropriate time.
Agency offices can remain open
In a letter to the industry, Housing Minister, Robert Jenrick MP confirmed that buying, selling and renting a home can continue, in a COVID-secure way.
Estate and letting agents can operate, show homes and sales suites can remain open and property viewings, mortgage valuations and surveys can take place. COVID-19 guidance on moving home must be followed.
Read the letter here