Eviction Ban Extended - COVID-19 News

The Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic included a ban on landlords issuing proceedings during a three month period starting 25th March.  This suspension on possession proceedings, for social and private renters, has now been extended for a further two months from 25th June, ending on 23rd August.

In his announcement on 5th June, Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

“We have provided an unprecedented package of support for renters during this pandemic. Today, I am announcing that the government’s ban on evictions will be extended for another 2 months. That takes the moratorium on evictions to a total of 5 months.

Eviction hearings will not be heard in courts until the end of August and no-one will be evicted from their home this summer due to coronavirus.

We are also working with the judiciary on proposals to ensure that when evictions proceedings do recommence, arrangements, including rules, are in place to assist the court in giving appropriate protections for those who have been particularly affected by coronavirus – including those tenants who have been shielding.”

This means that It will not be possible for possession orders to be granted during this period, and all action to enforce existing possession orders have also been suspended.

The extension has been implemented to ensure millions of renters in England and Wales have security and certainty whilst many may be facing financial pressures as a result of the current pandemic and protect vulnerable tenants who are shielding from coronavirus.

The government have been clear that where a tenant is having financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic both the landlord and tenant should work together to exhaust all possible options, such as payment plans which take into account the tenant’s circumstances.

To provide protection for landlords the government extended the mortgage holiday scheme to include landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to the pandemic.

A comprehensive guide has been issued by the government to assist both landlords and tenants during these unprecedented times. Please click here to view the publication ‘Guidance for Landlords and Tenants’.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I still serve notice to evict my tenant?

Yes. The Coronavirus Act 2020 does not prevent landlords from serving notices to evict, however it does change the notice period that must be given to tenants to vacate the property.

What are the new notice periods?

Under the Coronavirus Act 2020, a minimum of three months’ notice must now be given to tenants for both Section 21 Notices and Section 8 Notices (regardless of which ground the landlord is relying on under Section 8) before Landlords are able to issue possession proceedings. This is a significant increase in respect of the Section 8 Notice as prior to the Coronavirus Act 2020, only two weeks’ notice was required where the Landlord sought to rely upon rent arrears (where arrears were two months or more where rent is paid monthly).

How long are the new notice periods expected to be in force?

Currently, the increased notice periods are in place until 30 September 2020.

Are there new prescribed forms which should be used when serving notice?

Yes. A new Form 6a (Section 21) and Form 3 (Section 8) have been published by the government which should be used between 26 March 2020 and 30 September 2020. Talbots Law offer fixed fees to serve these notices.

The notice I served has now expired – can I issue possession proceedings?

Possibly. Although, even if the claim is issued by the court the claim will be stayed immediately until the 23 August 2020. Alternatively, the claim may be returned due to lack the current lack of court staff who are able to deal with issuing such claims during the suspension period.

If you would like advice in respect of your tenancy agreement then please get in contact with our Dispute Resolution Team by emailing Katie Jones, or call us on 0800 118 1500 to find out how we can help.