Government have announced changes to eviction notice periods and the lifting of the ban on bailiff evictions from 1 June.
- As part of a phased approach, notice periods – previously extended to six months as an emergency measure during the pandemic – will be set at four months from 1 June. This will offer tenants continued protection throughout Step 3 and into Step 4 of the Roadmap, which will begin from 21 June at the earliest.
- Subject to the public health advice and progress with the Roadmap, notice periods will return to pre-pandemic levels from 1 October.
- The current ban on bailiff-enforced evictions will end on 31 May. Bailiffs have been asked not to carry out an eviction if anyone living in the property has Covid-19 symptoms or is self-isolating.
- The measures will ensure renters continue to be protected with longer notice periods for the coming months, while allowing landlords to access justice – 45% of private landlords own just one property and are highly vulnerable to rent arrears.
- Extensive financial support remains in place to help people meet their outgoings, including the furlough scheme and the Universal Credit uplift, which have both been extended until the end of September.
- Courts will continue to prioritise the most serious cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour, with many of the evictions waiting to be enforced when the ban lifts predating the pandemic.
Commenting on the announcement, Isobel Thomson, Chief Executive, safeagent, said:
“safeagent welcomes the certainty that this announcement provides for both tenants and landlords with a reasonable timeframe for each party to plan for the future. Landlords who have maintained tenancies throughout the pandemic at often personal cost and hardship now have a clear route to repossessing their properties should they need to do so. Tenants have the certainty of knowing they will continue to be protected with a longer notice period for the months ahead.
“What has been clear from our firms throughout the past year is the way agents have successfully facilitated setting up financial arrangements between tenants and landlords where tenants have been unable to meet their rent in full. Our survey results have shown no indication of any increased intention among landlords to evict tenants other than in cases where there are serious grounds.”
- From 1 June, notice periods that are currently six months will reduce to at least 4 months. Notice periods for the most serious cases that present the most strain on landlords will remain lower:
- anti-social behaviour (immediate to 4 weeks’ notice)
- domestic abuse in the social sector (2 to 4 weeks’ notice)
- false statement (2 to 4 weeks’ notice)
- over 4 months’ accumulated rent arrears (4 weeks’ notice)
- breach of immigration rules ‘Right to Rent’ (2 weeks’ notice)
- death of a tenant (2 months’ notice)
- Notice periods for cases where there is four or more months of unpaid rent, will reduce to 2 months’ notice from 1 August. This is to support both landlords and tenants and responds to the greater difference between COVID and pre COVID notice periods for rent arrears.
- Renters will continue to be supported with living costs, including rent, through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until 30 September 2021.
- Local Housing Allowance rates are being maintained at their increased level in cash terms, and the government has also extended the £20 per week uplift in Universal Credit until the end of September.
- For those who require additional support, we have made £140 million in Discretionary Housing Payments funding available for local authorities this financial year.
- 14 days’ notice is required before an eviction can take place. Therefore, no evictions are expected to take place before mid-June except in the most serious circumstances, and bailiffs have been asked not to carry out an eviction if they have been made aware that anyone living in the property has Covid-19 symptoms or is self-isolating.