Last week, Housing Minister Christopher Pincher announced that the current ban on bailiff-forced evictions will end on 31 May. First introduced last spring, the eviction ban has been extended a number of times since.
The news comes as a relief to many landlords who have been waiting to evict tenants. There had been concerns that the eviction ban would be extended again in anticipation of economic problems caused by the end of the furlough scheme later this year.
Bailiffs have been asked not to evict anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or is self-isolating.
The success of the vaccine programme and the government’s roadmap for easing restrictions was cited as the reason for the announcement as they phase out emergency measures in line with the roadmap.
It was also announced that notice periods will be set at 4 months from 1 June. They had previously extended them to 6 months as an emergency measure during the pandemic.
Additionally, from 1 October, notice periods will return to pre-pandemic levels, which in England is usually two months, dependent on public health advice and the progression of the roadmap.
Notice periods for the most serious cases that present the most strain on landlords will remain lower:
- Anti-social behaviour (immediate to 4 weeks’ notice)
- Domestic abuse in the social sector (2 to 4 weeks’ notice)
- False statement (2 to 4 weeks’ notice)
- 4 months’ or more accumulated rent arrears (4 weeks’ notice)
- Breach of immigration rules ‘Right to Rent’ (2 weeks’ notice)
- Death of a tenant (2 months’ notice)
For cases where there is less than 4 months of unpaid rent, notice periods will reduce again to 2 months’ notice from 1 August.
Minister Pincher says: “From the beginning of the pandemic, we have taken unprecedented action to protect renters and help keep them in their homes.
“As COVID restrictions are eased in line with the Roadmap out of lockdown, we will ensure tenants continue to be supported with longer notice periods, while also balancing the need for landlords to access justice.
“Crucial financial support also remains in place including the furlough scheme and uplift to Universal Credit.”
Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA says: “Having operated under emergency conditions for over a year, today’s announcement from the Government is an important step in ensuring the sector’s recovery.
“It does nothing though to address the rent debt crisis. With the number of private tenants in arrears having increased threefold since lockdown measures started, more are at risk of losing their homes as restrictions ease.
“We want to see tenancies sustained wherever possible and call on the Chancellor to step in and provide affected tenants with the financial support they need to pay off rent arrears built as a result of the pandemic.”
This article is intended as a guide only. For further information, please refer to the government’s website.