In a welcome break for many tenants, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced that the eviction ban in the private rental sector would be extended a further four weeks.
Following concerns from MPs and housing charities that the end of the eviction suspension period could rise in a steep rise in people being made homeless, Jenrick announced the extension just two days prior to the August expiry date.
"I know this year has been challenging and all of us are still living with the effects of COVID-19. That is why today I am announcing a further four-week ban on evictions, meaning no renters will have been evicted for six months.
I am also increasing protections for renters – six-month notice periods must be given to tenants, supporting renters over winter."
Jenrick also said that only "the most egregious cases", such as those involving anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse perpetrators, will be exempt from the six-month notice period.
When the ban was first announced in March as one of the Government’s emergency legislations to help people whose finances had been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, it was controversial. Many felt it was less generous towards renters as landlords were given three-month mortgage payment holidays.
Although the eviction ban ensured tenants couldn’t lose their home, it didn’t offer them any breathing space financially. Whilst some landlords offered their tenants rent holidays, this was due to their own goodwill, not legislation. Many tenants were not fortunate enough to receive this relief.
Housing charity Shelter has estimated that the amount of people behind their rent in the UK has almost doubled since the start of the pandemic.
Whilst this extension is a welcome announcement, the question is – is it enough to truly help tenants in trouble?
We answer some common questions about the eviction ban below…
The tenant eviction ban affects you if you are living in a privately rented property. If you are a private tenant, then your landlord is not allowed to evict you from the property (serve a section 21 or section 8 notice) before 20th September 2020.
If it is deemed that there is anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse in the property, the ban can be overruled, and an eviction notice can be served.
If you’re struggling to pay your rent then speak with your letting agent / landlord as soon as possible.
Buy-to-let landlords were included within the mortgage payment holiday scheme on the understanding they would pass on the benefit to tenants in financial difficulties.
If you can still afford to pay part of your rent, you can ask your landlord if they’ll accept a reduced payment for a set period of time.
A section 21 notice is an eviction notice from a landlord. Landlords don’t need a reason to evict a tenant under a section 21 notice but are required to give you a notice period. Previously, this period was 2 months but this has now been extended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
You cannot be issued with a section 21 notice during the first four months of your original tenancy agreement. However, due to the eviction ban currently in place, regardless of how long you’ve been in the property your landlord cannot serve you notice.
Landlords can issue a section 8 notice if they have legal grounds, such as rent arrears, to end your tenancy. Prior to issuing a section 8 notice they must apply for a court possession order to evict you.
If you have any questions or need further advice, you can speak with our Property Management team. Just call 0118 955 9747.
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