The government has revealed several changes to the evictions ban including a halt in local lockdown areas and a bar on bailiff evictions during the run-up to Christmas.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has also announced an additional £40 million for Discretionary Housing Payment to support vulnerable renters this year.
As before, there will be exceptions including where tenants have demonstrated anti-social behaviour or committed fraud, or when a landlord ‘would like to re-let their property to another tenant’.
And in a sign that government is beginning to realise landlords are unhappy about the evictions ban, the government’s statement says that “we would like to thank landlords for their forbearance during this difficult time”.
The announcement also reveals that the evictions ban will not be extended past September 21th ‘because no landlord, including those who only rent out a single property, has had access to the courts since March’.
Also, the pre-action system much heralded by Ministers prior to the government’s U-turn in August extending the ban until August 21, are to be reinstated.
These include the prioritisation of cases (anti-social behaviour and other crimes pllus extreme rent arrears), mandatory re-activation procedures for evictions started before August 3rd, and that landlords must work with tenants to see how they have been affected by the pandemic.
The Christmas truce will also exclude evictions involving anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse.
“It’s right that we strike a balance between protecting vulnerable renters and ensuring landlords whose tenants have behaved in illegal or anti-social ways have access to justice,” says Jenrick.
“Our legislation means such cases will be subject to shorter notice periods and then prioritised through the judiciary’s new court processes.”
“It is welcome that renters will not face eviction by bailiffs around Christmas or where there are lockdown measures. But outside that, thousands of renters who have had eviction notices during the pandemic still have no assurance from the government whether they can stay in their home,” says Alicia Kennedy, Director at Generation Rent.
“Those who have lost income will find it difficult to find a new home so face many months of uncertainty, getting deeper into debt. The government must offer them more support than a Discretionary Housing Payment pot that was set up before the pandemic hit.”