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Eviction ban extended 09/06/2020 Labelled as Finance, Legislation, Tenants

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick made an announcement late on Friday 5 June 2020 that the moratorium on evictions during the Coronavirus crisis, introduced in March 2020 for an initial period of 3 months, will be extended for a further 2 months taking the moratorium on evictions to a total of five months until 23 August 2020.


The extension of the suspension of evictions from social or private rented accommodation will come into force on 25 June, ensuring there is no gap between the existing ban and the extension.


The Housing Secretary also announced that the Government is working with the judiciary, legal representatives and the advice sector on arrangements, including new rules, which will mean that courts are better able to address the need for appropriate protection of all parties, including those shielding from coronavirus, to ensure that judges have all the information necessary to make just decisions and that the most vulnerable tenants can get the help they need.


The Master of the Rolls, as head of civil justice, has convened a judiciary-led, cross-sector, task-and-finish working group to consider and to address so far as practicable matters affecting litigants and the courts when the stay on possession proceedings is lifted. Membership includes representatives from the judiciary, government, advice sectors, legal profession, Legal Aid agency, charities and pro bono organisations. The focus of the group will be on preparing the courts for the lifting of the suspension including how best to support parties, including vulnerable renters. The group will also include rules, guidance (including to private landlords as well as social landlords), the provision of information and the sharing of best practice.


Where tenants do experience financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic, the government is clear that landlords and tenants should work together and exhaust all possible options - such as flexible payment plans which take into account a tenant's individual circumstances - to ensure cases only end up in court as an absolute last resort.


In advising ARCH of the decision to extend the eviction ban MHCLG officials said:


"You may have seen this evening's announcement about the further measures the Government is taking to support those who rent their homes in either private or social rented housing and who are affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). 


As you will know, the initial 90 day stay on housing possession claims in the court was expected to expire later this month.  In recognition of the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 crisis and to ensure that renters continue to have certainty and security during this period, the decision has been taken to introduce a further stay on housing possessions of two months.  This means that that no possession claims will be heard or progressed by the courts before 24 August 2020. 


All private and social renters, as well as those with mortgages and those with licenses covered by the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, continue to be protected from eviction during this period. This will apply to both England and Wales.


The legislation, which requires landlords to give at least three months' notice to evict tenants also remains in place and will last until 30 September 2020.  We continue to strongly advise landlords not to commence or continue eviction proceedings during this challenging time without a very good reason to do so. 


Our guidance to landlords and tenants will be updated shortly to reflect this latest position.


This extended stay on possession proceedings does not change tenants' obligations to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement, and tenants should continue to do so to the best of their ability.


As this evening's announcement sets out, the Government is alsoworking 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. We intend to provide more information on this in due course. 


In the meantime, wherever possible we continue to encourage landlords and tenants to work together to resolve disputes without the need for court action, including agreeing repayment plans where a tenant is unable to fully meet their rent". 

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