The ban on tenant evictions by bailiffs, which was imposed because of the Covid19 pandemic, has been extended until 31 March.
Natalie Tatton, Solicitor in our Dispute Resolution team provides an update.
Exemptions remain in place for the most serious circumstances that cause the greatest strain on landlords as well as other residents and neighbours, such as illegal occupation, anti-social behaviour and arrears of 6 months’ rent or more.
The measures are part of a wide-ranging package of support the government has provided to protect renters from the economic impact of the pandemic, including supporting businesses to pay staff through the furlough scheme and strengthening the welfare safety-net by billions of pounds.
Landlords are also required to give 6-month notice periods to tenants before starting possession proceedings, except in the most serious circumstances, meaning that most renters now served notice can stay in their homes until at least September, with time to find alternative support or accommodation.
For those renters who require additional support, there is an existing £180 million of government funding for Discretionary Housing Payments for councils to distribute to support renters with housing costs.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Our measures strike the right balance between protecting tenants and enabling landlords to exercise their right to justice.”
Court rules and procedures introduced in September to support both tenants and landlords will remain in place and be regularly reviewed, with courts continuing to prioritise the most serious cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour, illegal occupation and perpetrators of domestic abuse in the social sector.
The government has also launched a new free mediation pilot to support landlords and tenants to resolve disputes before a formal court hearing takes place. This will help tenants at an early stage of the possession process, mitigating the risk of tenants becoming homeless and helping to sustain tenancies where possible.
If you would like more information about the issues raised in this article please contact Natalie on 01228 585245.