A complete ban on evictions and ‘additional protection’ for renters have been announced, coming into force from today. But what does this mean for landlords and tenants in reality?
First, the court service has now suspended all possession hearings. This means that no cases that are already in the system – or those due to be heard – can be taken to the stage where a landlord can evict a tenant. No evictions will now take place for any reason and the ban will initially last for 90 days, but it might be extended if necessary.
According to Landlord Today, “The Government has taken this measure to protect private and social renters, as well as those with mortgages and those with licenses covered by the Protection from Eviction Act 1977”. The new measures will apply to landlords and tenants in England and Wales.
However, it is important for renters to note that these new government guidelines clearly state that tenants are still liable for their rent and they must do all they can to pay their landlord as usual. If renters find themselves in financial hardship due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and are struggling to pay their rent, Government support is available. Go to the www.gov.uk website to find out more about the package of support that is being delivered by the Government in response to the pandemic.
However, if a tenant does think they will have problems sticking to their rental agreement, the first step is to speak to their landlord. The Government is actively encouraging landlords and tenants to speak to each other and work together to put in place a sensible – and affordable – payment scheme. This is something that we wholeheartedly support.
The Government’s aim in all this is clear. As Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts.”
With new rules in place, landlords will now have to give their tenants three months’ notice if they want to end the tenancy. To clarify, this means the landlord can’t apply to even START the court process until the end of this three-month period.