Section: Security of Tenure

Update: government issues clarification of measures to protect all renters from eviction during the COVID-19 crisis period

Posted 26.03.20
GOV.UK: Further reading

The government has brought forward a package of measures to protect renters affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). With these in force, government confirms that no renter in either social or private accommodation, will be forced out of their home during the coming months.

From the 26 March 2020, landlords will have to give all renters 3 months notice if they intend to seek possession (i.e. serve notice that they want to end the tenancy) - this means the landlord cannot apply to start the court process until after this period.

This extended buffer period will apply in law until 30 September 2020 and both the end point, and the three month notice period can be extended if needed.

This protection covers most tenants in the private and social rented sectors in England and Wales, and all grounds of evictions. After three months, if the tenant has not moved a landlord needs to apply to court in order to proceed.

From the 27 March 2020, following a decision by the Master of the Rolls with the Lord Chancellor's agreement, the court service will suspend all ongoing housing possession action.

This means that neither cases currently in the system or any about to go in to it can progress to the stage where someone could be evicted.

This suspension of housing possessions action will initially last for 90 days, but this can be extended if needed.

This will also apply to both England and Wales.

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Shelter warns 20,000 evictions could go ahead as legislation fails to go far enough

Posted 23.03.20
Shelter: Further reading

The government has published its emergency legislation to suspend new eviction cases for three months during the Covid19 crisis (23 March).

The legislation extends the notice period that landlords must give tenants before they can evict them through a court process, from two months to three.

Shelter are one of many expressing concerns that this does not go far enough to protect people and keep them in a safe home until this public health emergency has passed.

It also points out that renters with an eviction case already in progress in the courts - an estimated 20,000 cases - could still be legally evicted and lose their home in the next three months.

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Shelter, said:?

"Last week the government's commitment to a temporary ban on evictions made renters across the country feel safer in their homes. But today's watered-down measures risk homelessness and uncertainty at this worrying time.

"For the next three months, as many as 20,000 eviction proceedings already in progress will go ahead, and eviction notices will continue to land on renter's doormats.

"This means people trying to isolate or socially distance, and even some within the shielded group, could still lose their home in the coming weeks and even more may face eviction by mid-June."

Editor's Note

The precise text of the GOV.UK press release in relation to this point, as covered below, reads - " Emergency legislation will be taken forward as an urgent priority so that landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a 3 month period. As a result of these measures, no renters in private or social accommodation needs to be concerned about the threat of eviction."

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Complete ban on evictions and additional protection for renters during Covid19 period

Posted 18.03.20
GOV.UK: Further reading

The government has announced a radical package of measures to protect renters and landlords affected by coronavirus.

Emergency legislation will be taken forward as an urgent priority so that landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a three-month period.

As a result of these measures, no renters in private or social accommodation need to be concerned about the threat of eviction.

Recognising the additional pressures the virus may put on landlords, the government has confirmed that the three month mortgage payment holiday just announced will be extended to landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to coronavirus.

This will alleviate the pressure on landlords, who will be concerned about meeting mortgage payments themselves, and will mean no unnecessary pressure is put on their tenants as a result.

At the end of this period, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants' individual circumstances.

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