The UK Government has today (8th January) published extra support for renters struggling due to the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, only three days before the original measures had been due to expire on 11th January. Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick, made the announcement following the introduction of the most recent lockdown, in the wake of a sharp upwards trend of cases in the UK.
Under the new rules, the ban on bailiff evictions will be extended until at least the 21st of February and potentially beyond, with no evictions expected to start until 8th March at the earliest. As always, these measures are being kept under constant review.
The move follows rules and procedures introduced in 2020 to support both tenants and landlords, with courts continuing to prioritise cases of eviction involving anti-social behaviour, illegal occupation, domestic abuse and extreme rent arrears equivalent to 6 months’ rent. ‘Less severe’ cases can benefit from a new ‘mediation pilot’ which will support landlords and tenants from February, offering a softer route of progression with the aim of helping parties reach a mutual agreement, allowing tenants to remain in their homes. This mediation pilot will operate within existing court arrangements in England and Wales.
Landlords are still required to give 6-month notice periods to tenants until at least 31st March, with renters being able to end a tenancy through the official channels by giving 1 months’ notice.
In the period between July and September of 2020, applications to the courts for possession by private and social landlords were down by 86% compared to the same quarter in 2019.
Here at Newton Fallowell, we continue to support both landlords and tenants through these unprecedented times. Whether you are a current landlord or tenant, or perhaps you are self-managing a property and need guidance during this time, our teams of experts are on hand to help every step of the way.
For the full announcement from Robert Jenrick, click here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/understanding-the-possession-action-process-guidance-for-landlords-and-tenants