In this section:

Eviction ban extended for second time 27/08/2020 Labelled as Rent, Tenants

Renters in the social and private rented sectors affected by coronavirus will continue to be protected after Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced that the Government would extend the ban on evictions for another four weeks.


The eviction ban was originally introduced in March 2020 for an initial period of 3 months and was first extended in June 2020 for a further 2-month period and was due to come to an end on 23 August 2020.


However, in the last-minute announcement made on 21 August 2020, the Government have now decided to continue the ban for a further 4 weeks taking the total period of the ban to 6 months.


The Government also intends to give tenants greater protection from eviction over the winter by requiring landlords to provide tenants with a minimum six months' notice in all bar those cases raising other serious issues such as those involving anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse perpetrators, until at least the end of March.


In summary:


  • The ban on evictions continues for four weeks taking the total ban to 6 months
  • New six-month notice periods to be in place until at least 31 March 2021
  • Once eviction hearings restart, the Judiciary will carefully prioritise the most serious cases including those involving anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse


ARCH has been involved in discussions with Housing Ministry officials regarding a potential "voluntary pledge" to help protect and sustain the tenancies of those tenants directly affected by loss of income due to Coronavirus and had also been involved in the Working Group set up by the Master of the Rolls to consider the categories of cases that would be prioritised when hearings were expected to resume after the 23 August. The late announcement by the Secretary of State of a further 4-week extension linked to the requirement for a six-month notice period came as a surprise.


ARCH Chief Executive John Bibby comments:


"Council house rents are, on average, considerably lower than rents in the private rented sector and tenants in the private rented sector often pay a high proportion of their incomes in rent. When that income is significantly reduced, either through furlough or through redundancy, most tenants will struggle - particularly if, as is the case in many areas, the Local Housing Allowance rates (currently set at only 30th percentile of market rents in the area) are insufficient to cover the weekly rent charged by their landlord."


"Evictions in the council housing sector are very much seen as a last resort and most councils already have in place arrangements to directly support those tenants who want to pay but are unable to pay their rent to help enable them to sustain their tenancies."


"However some landlords in the private rented sector rely on the rental income to supplement their own incomes and/or to meet repayments on buy to let mortgages taken out on the properties and will have little choice but to seek repossession if their tenants simply cannot afford to pay."


"The further extension of the eviction ban, and the requirement to give an extended six-month notice period when the ban comes to an end, will do nothing to assist those tenants who now quite simply cannot afford to pay their rent. The extension of the ban and the longer notice period is merely erecting a temporary "dam" to hold back the flow of cases that are expected to hit the courts sooner or later".


"That flow could become a torrent or, worse still, become a Tsunami that will threaten to overwhelm local authority homelessness teams  - simply building a bigger dam to try to hold back the cases reaching the courts will ultimately do nothing to prevent the flow of cases."


"Latest figures show that before the Lockdown measures hit, there were already 93,000 homeless households living in temporary accommodation at the 31 March 2020 - up 9.4% on the 31 March 2019!  If we are to avoid a Tsunami of homelessness much more needs to be done "upstream" in the form of financial help to those tenants whose incomes have been directly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic and who genuinely have been unable to pay their rent."  


"In making the announcement the Secretary of State said the Government remain committed to bringing forward reforms to provide greater security to tenants and promised to bring forward legislation in due course, once the urgencies of responding to the pandemic have passed, to deliver a better deal for renters and a fairer more effective rental market. That I am afraid will be too late and the Government must act now to provide greater security to tenants in the private rented sector and in particular to end so called "Section 21" no fault evictions."

Like emailLink
ARCH Member Comments 2 people like this