Evictions ban to end on 31 May | News

Evictions ban to end on 31 May

The government has announced that the ban on bailiff-enforced evictions will end on 31 May.

As part of a phased approach, notice periods – previously extended to six months as an emergency measure during the pandemic - will be set at four months from 1 June. 

The current ban on bailiff-enforced evictions, introduced as an emergency measure during lockdown, will end on 31 May. Bailiffs have been asked not to carry out an eviction if anyone living in the property has COVID-19 symptoms or is self-isolating.

Housing Minister, Christopher Pincher, said: "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."

Courts will continue to prioritise the most serious cases, such as those involving fraud or anti-social behaviour, with many of the evictions waiting to be enforced when the ban lifts predating the pandemic.

It comes just a day after the government announced that they were producing a White Paper in the Autumn that would look at reforming the private rented sector.

Alicia Kennedy, Director of Generation Rent, said:"When 353,000 private renters are in arrears, and the government still has no plan to clear their debts, loosening the restrictions on evictions is reckless. Renters who have lost income as a result of the pandemic are already struggling to find a home they can afford – if the Government doesn’t intervene, thousands of homeless families could be turning to their council for help. We can’t build back better without financial support for the renters who have been hit hardest. 

"The Government must introduce a Covid Rent Debt Fund, allowing renters to clear their debts and landlords to claim for up to 80% of income lost."

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association said: “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.”

The lifting of the ban will also apply in the social housing sector too.

In response, the National Housing Federation said: "It is positive that the government has extended longer notice periods beyond the end of May which is something we have been calling for. We welcome the protection this will offer renters over the coming months.

"While lockdown is easing across the country, we know many tenants will feel the impact of the coronavirus crisis long into the future. That is why we are urging the government to consider extending longer notice periods beyond October rather than returning to the much shorter pre-pandemic notice periods. 

“Housing associations house millions of people on the lowest incomes in society, and they have seen first-hand how the pandemic has hit people’s jobs, livelihoods and incomes.

"That’s why at the start of the pandemic housing associations pledged to increase support for residents through this challenging time, and to not evict anyone in financial difficulty who is engaging with their housing association.

“If you live in a housing association home and are struggling financially, the most important thing is to contact your housing association who will put support in place to help you.”