The Government has provided a further update regarding legislation for private rental sector possession cases in England and Wales.
Once the ban is lifted and cases are yet again heard, evictions by bailiffs will still be suspended in locked-down areas and over Christmas. Exact dates for this have not yet been confirmed by the Government.
Court proceedings for evictions are due to continue from 21st September.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has said: “We have protected renters during the pandemic by banning evictions for six months – the longest eviction ban in the UK.
“To further support renters we have increased notice periods to six months, an unprecedented measure to help keep people in their homes over the winter months.
“It’s right that we strike a balance between protecting vulnerable renters and ensuring landlords whose tenants have behaved in illegal or anti-social ways have access to justice.”
Alicia Kennedy, Director at Generation Rent, comments: “It is welcome that renters will not face eviction by bailiffs around Christmas or where there are lockdown measures.
“But outside that, thousands of renters who have had eviction notices during the pandemic still have no assurance from the Government whether they can stay in their home.
“Those who have lost income will find it difficult to find a new home so face many months of uncertainty, getting deeper into debt. The Government must offer them more support than a Discretionary Housing Payment pot that was set up before the pandemic hit.”
Timothy Douglas, Policy and Campaigns Manager for ARLA Propertymark, says: “Over the past few weeks the Government has drip-fed updates about evictions to the sector making it impossible for agents to respond and plan for the difficult months ahead.
“The UK Government are moving the goalposts, introducing measures that will be difficult for many to implement, including staying on top of rapidly changing local lockdowns.
“Whilst it looks like there will no further delays on the resumption of possession hearings, agents have profound concerns about investment in housing and this announcement offers no further support for the sector.
“The Government must now look at additional measures to provide direct finance to landlords and tenants to cover COVID related arrears and help boost confidence in the sector as we head into the winter.”
Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley and creator of automated lettings platform PlanetRent, comments: “There’s no doubt that thousands of renters that are suffering financial difficulty will be happy to hear the news from the Government around the winter period and will now feel more secure in their homes.
“With all of the uncertainty going on at the moment, tenants deserve to be protected by the Government from evictions that could be through no fault of their own, and could well be down to financial hardship brought on by being furloughed or losing their job altogether.
“However, it should be noted as recent research by the National Residential Landlords Association pointed out that the majority of landlords are trying to work with their tenants to resolve any issues such as rent arrears.
“Tenants and landlords should be working together in what is a difficult time for everybody, and should not use the eviction ban as an excuse to mistreat the property they live in or withhold rent if they are not in a genuinely financially difficult situation.
“Some renters may need more financial assistance from the Government but cancelling rents or getting the Government to pay would be hugely damaging.”