The Government has announced an extension to the ban on bailiff enforcement of evictions and the requirement for landlords to provide six months’ notice when seeking possession of residential property. These measures will be extended to 31 May 2021, to continue to protect public health and minimise the impact on essential public services.
- Legislation will be laid to extend measures in the Coronavirus Act 2020 that require landlords in England to provide tenants with six months’ notice, except in the most serious circumstances. These serious cases continue to include anti-social behaviour (including rioting), false statement, in certain cases of domestic abuse in the social sector, rent arrears over six months, where the tenant has passed away or where the tenant does not have the right to rent under immigration law.
- Legislation will also be brought forward to continue to extend the restrictions on bailiff enforcement. Exemptions will remain in place for the most serious circumstances (as above).
- In addition, the court arrangements and rules that were introduced in September to respond to the pandemic apply up until at least the end of July 2021. This includes prioritising the most serious cases, such as anti-social behaviour, and requiring landlords to provide the courts with information on how the pandemic has impacted their tenants.
The Government has advised that they will carefully consider the best approach to tapering down notice periods from 1 June 2021, taking into account public health requirements, progress with the national roadmap and the longer-term transition into our broader programme of reform.
Government continues to encourage all landlords and tenants to work together to resolve issues wherever possible without recourse to the courts. The Government funded mediation scheme is now open to all tenants and landlords at review stage before the formal possession hearing takes place.
- Read the announcement in full https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-support-for-commercial-and-residential-tenants
- Latest guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities
- Guidance on navigating the possession process for landlords and tenants: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/understanding-the-possession-action-process-guidance-for-landlords-and-tenants
Responding to the announcement, Isobel Thomson, safeagent Chief Executive, said:
“Agents are already doing all they can to keep struggling tenants in their homes, but where does this leave their landlords? Today’s announcement reiterates the measures previously introduced to assist tenants to meet their rent but makes no mention of what happens if there is shortfall and how landlords are supposed to cope.
“In the commercial sector, Government acknowledges the need to support both parties and monitor the overall progress of negotiations between tenants and landlords Why is this not happening for private landlords in the PRS? If Government is serious about protecting tenants and keeping them housed, they must now provide grants for landlords or accept the consequences of them withdrawing from the market.”