Tenant Eviction Ban
The ban on evictions has been extended for a further 4 weeks and new 6 month notice periods to be in place until at least 31 March 2021. Ban on evictions continues for 4 weeks taking the total ban to 6 months. New 6 month notice periods to be in place until at least 31 March 2021. Once eviction hearings restart, the judiciary will carefully prioritise the most serious cases including those involving anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse.
Government also intends to give tenants greater protection from eviction over the winter by requiring landlords to provide tenants with 6 months’ notice in all cases with serious issues such as those involving anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse victims, until at least the end of March.
Government will keep these measures under review with decisions guided by the latest public health advice.
When courts do resume eviction hearings they will carefully 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.
The government has taken unprecedented action to support renters during the pandemic, preventing people getting into financial hardship and helping businesses to pay salaries – meaning no tenants have been evicted since the start.
Section 21 and Section 8 notices
While landlords have been unable to begin court proceedings during this period, both Section 21 and Section 8 notices have been permitted during the coronavirus pandemic.
A Section 21 notice allows a landlord to evict tenants from their homes for whatever reason they like. However, a Section 21 notice can’t be used during the first six months of a tenancy.
A section 8 notice allows landlords to evict their tenant inside the fixed term of their tenancy, but can only be used if the tenant has breached their tenancy agreement and where certain conditions are met.
As a result, according to an independent research, 87% of tenants have continued to pay full rent since the start of the pandemic, with a further 8% agreeing reduced fees with their landlords.
The vast majority of landlords have shown understanding and leadership, taking action to support tenants.
New restrictions on repossessions
Court proceedings will not be the same as they were prior to the pandemic however, due to a new repossession policy that was announced by the government.
Once the evictions ban is lifted, landlords will have to carry out additional processes to evict a tenant.
These include having to submit in their claim any information about how their tenant’s circumstances have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and judges will be able to suspend the proceedings if the information is not provided.
With coronavirus still posing an ongoing risk to public health, the government will continue to take action where necessary to further protect households in both the private and social rented sector are supported over winter, helping to keep them safe.
The 6 month notice periods will ensure those most at risk are protected. If tenants are unable to afford their rent they will be encouranged to speak to their landlord to agree a solution, and some households may decide to consider moving.
Government will continue to work with the judiciary and stakeholders to ensure that the courts are prepared for eviction cases to be heard safely.
The extension to the ban on evictions and prioritisation of the most serious case applies to courts in England and Wales
The intention to extend notice periods to 6 month applies to England only.
On 5 June the government announced that the suspension of housing possession cases in the courts had been extended by a further 2 months.
To support those on Universal Credit or Housing Benefit in the private rented sector, Local Housing Allowance rates have been set to the 30th percentile of rents in each area. For those who require additional support Discretionary Housing Payments are available.
As announced at the spending round for 2020/21 there is already £180 million in Discretionary Housing Payments for Local authorities to distribute for supporting renters with housing costs in the private and social rented sectors.
Government is committed to bringing forward reforms to provide greater security to tenants, but it is only right that this is balanced with an assurance that landlords are able to recover their properties where they have valid reasons to do so. This is vital to ensuring the future supply of good quality housing in the rented sector.