Eviction Ban extended until 21st February
The ban on bailiff evictions of tenants has been extended by the Government at the 11th hour .
Renters will continue to be supported during the new national restrictions, with an extension to most cases for at least six weeks – until 21st February.
The government has changed the law in England to ensure bailiffs do not enforce evictions until 22 February at the earliest. This will be kept under review.
The only exceptions to this are for the most ‘egregious cases’ – anti-social behaviour, illegal occupation, death of a tenant where the property is unoccupied, fraud, perpetrators of domestic abuse in social housing and extreme rent arrears equivalent to 6 months’ rent.
Guidance to support landlords and tenants understand the possession action process and new rules within the court system in England and Wales is available.
Communities Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “Court rules and procedures introduced in September to support both tenants and landlords will remain in place and regularly reviewed. The courts will continue to prioritise cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour, illegal occupation and perpetrators of domestic abuse in the social sector.
“Landlords continue to be required to give 6-month notice periods to tenants until at least 31 March except in the most serious circumstances.”
A new mediation pilot will also support landlords and renters who face court procedures and potential eviction from next February. It will offer mediation as part of the possession process to try and help landlords and tenants to reach a mutual agreement and keep people in their homes.
Helping to resolve disputes through mediation will enable courts to prioritise urgent cases, supporting landlords and tenants to resolve issues quickly without the need for a formal hearing. The mediation pilot will work within the existing court arrangements in England and Wales.
Rough sleeper support boosted
The Government has also announced extra support to house rough sleepers across all councils in England.
Backed by an additional £10m funding, all councils in England are being asked to redouble their efforts to accommodate all those sleeping rough and ensure they are swiftly registered with a GP.
Councils will also be asked to reach out again to those who have previously refused help, given rising infection rates and the colder winter months.
Jenrick added: “This winter, we are redoubling our efforts to help those most in need. Our ongoing Everyone In initiative is widely regarded as one of the most successful of its kind in the world, ensuring 33,000 people are safe in accommodation. We are now going further and focusing on GP registration of rough sleepers.”
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “These renewed efforts to protect people who are homeless in the pandemic will save lives.
“It was truly a landmark moment when, back in March, everyone on the streets was offered somewhere safe to stay. It’s as important, if not more so, that today we see government leadership to protect all those sleeping rough. The highly infectious new strain of coronavirus alongside the cold weather makes this the most dangerous moment of the pandemic for those without a home.”