Evictions ban extended to 20 September | News

The Residents' Network Strip

The Residents' Network

Evictions ban extended to 20 September

Government has announced that the evictions ban will last another month to 20th September.

The initial ban was extended by a further two months and due to end August 23. The Government has been under huge pressure to extend the ban.

Yesterday, leaders in Manchester said if the ban was not extended, there would be "1930s" style homelessness.

However, some have called for government to make some amends to the evictions ban, including over Anti-Social Behaviour.

As well as the extension, the government also intends to give tenants greater protection from eviction over the winter by requiring landlords to provide tenants with 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.

The government will keep these measures under review with decisions guided by the latest public health advice.

When courts do resume eviction hearings they will carefully prioritise the most egregious cases, ensuring landlords are able to progress the most serious cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour and other crimes, as well as where landlords have not received rent for over a year and would otherwise face unmanageable debts.

Some campaigners in the sector are hoping the month extension is to give time for Parliament to return from the summer recess to create a longer term solution.

The confirmation was noted in a letter from the Master of Rolls, which said: "This 4-week extension to the stay relating to housing possession cases, will allow for further work to be done to prepare for the stay to be lifted which in many respects can be welcomed."

Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, said: "I know this year has been challenging and all of us are still living with the effects of COVID-19. That is why today I am announcing a further 4 week ban on evictions, meaning no renters will have been evicted for 6 months.

"I am also increasing protections for renters – six month notice periods must be given to tenants, supporting renters over winter.

"However, it is right that the most egregious cases, for example those involving anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse perpetrators, begin to be heard in court again; and so when courts reopen, landlords will once again be able to progress these priority cases."

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who had been a vocal critic of the government over evictions, said: “Once again the Government has performed a late u-turn and left a vital decision that affects the lives of millions of people until the last minute, causing weeks of stress and uncertainty, and even now has only extended the ban on evictions by four weeks – which is not nearly long enough.

“None of this would have been necessary if the last five months had been used to put in place sensible protections for private renters in a time of crisis instead of Ministers sitting on their hands.

“It is imperative that the Government now acts urgently to rebalance the rental market in favour of renters, scrap draconian eviction rules and put welfare systems in place to support tenants who have fallen into arrears because of the pandemic.”

Alicia Kennedy, Director at Generation Rent, said: “The extension of the eviction ban will come as an enormous relief to the thousands of renters who were terrified of losing their homes as early as next week. We’re glad the Government has listened to charities, MPs, local Government and public health bodies, but it’s not a permanent solution.

"The evictions crisis should have been addressed earlier – the decision was announced just days before courts were due to open again, putting thousands of renters through untold mental stress. And while the courts remain closed, rent debt is still building up and notices are still being served.

"The Government must use this time to introduce a long term plan to protect renters’ homes."

But landlords have not been quite so positive about the extension, calling it "unacceptable" and saying that it has left landlords "powerless".