Chat with us live
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced that the government is to extend the suspension of evictions for a further two months.
Ministers are also working with the judiciary, legal representatives and the advice sector on arrangements, including new rules, which will mean that courts are better able to address the need for appropriate protection of all parties, including those shielding from coronavirus.
This is to ensure that judges have all the information necessary to make just decisions and that the most vulnerable tenants can get the help they need.
Where tenants do experience financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic, the government is clear that landlords and tenants should work together and exhaust all possible options – such as flexible payment plans which take into account a tenant’s individual circumstances – to ensure cases only end up in court as an absolute last resort.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: "We have provided an unprecedented package of support for renters during this pandemic. Today, I am announcing that the government’s ban on evictions will be extended for another 2 months. That takes the moratorium on evictions to a total of five months.
Eviction hearings will not be heard in courts until the end of August and no-one will be evicted from their home this summer due to coronavirus.
"We are also working with the judiciary on proposals to ensure that when evictions proceedings do recommence, arrangements, including rules, are in place to assist the court in giving appropriate protections for those who have been particularly affected by coronavirus – including those tenants who have been shielding."
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Robert Buckland QC, said: "Protecting vulnerable people has been our priority throughout this pandemic.
"Extending this ban will give people invaluable security in these turbulent times and work continues at pace to ensure vulnerable renters remain protected long after the ban ends.
"The government had been under severe pressure to extend the ban, with several organisations calling it a "cliff edge".
While welcomed by campaigning groups, they issued warnings too.
Dan Wilson Craw, Director of Generation Rent, said: "It’s a relief that the Government has listened to renters’ concerns and is extending the ban.
"Renters who have lost income in the past few months are extremely worried about losing their home as a result. The Government has averted a homelessness crisis - for now.
"But with holes in the housing safety net and much of the economy still in lockdown, millions of renters will get further behind on rent. Not all of them can rely on their landlord’s goodwill and so need further help with rent, and assurance that they can stay in their homes beyond the summer.
"The Government must use the time it has bought itself to develop a long term solution to provide rent relief and end unfair evictions for good. "