Renters will be protected during the national restrictions, with no bailiff enforcement action, the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced today (5 November 2020).
Measures, including the pause on evictions starting in December, mean evictions will not be enforced until the 11 January 2021 at the earliest, supporting individuals and families who have found themselves in financial difficulty through no fault of their own.
The only exceptions to this will be the most egregious cases, including where tenants have demonstrated anti-social behaviour or are the perpetrator of domestic abuse in social housing, and the landlord rightly would like to re-let their property to another tenant.
This builds on protections announced earlier this year, including 6 month notice periods meaning renters now served notice can stay in their homes until May 2021, with time to find alternative support or accommodation.
Courts will remain open through the new national restrictions. Court rules and procedures introduced in September will ensure protections for both tenants and landlords. These include the strict prioritisation of cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour and other crimes.
These protections are on top of the unprecedented package the government has put in place to help communities through the pandemic, including support for businesses to pay staff salaries and strengthening the welfare safety-net with an over £9 billion boost to the welfare system.
Housing Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:
We have already taken unprecedented action to support renters during the pandemic including introducing a 6 month notice period and financial support to help those struggling to pay their rent.
We are now going further by protecting renters from eviction during the new national restrictions and throughout the Christmas period – with a pause on bailiff activity other than in the most serious circumstances, such as anti-social behaviour or fraud.
Striking the right balance between helping tenants in need while ensuring landlords have access to justice in the most serious cases.
For those renters who require additional support, there is an existing £180 million of government funding for Discretionary Housing Payments for councils to distribute to support renters with housing costs.
Whilst national restrictions apply, the only circumstances where these protections do not apply are illegal occupation, fraud, anti-social behaviour, eviction of domestic abuse perpetrators in social housing; where a property is unoccupied following the death of a tenant. We also intend to introduce an exemption for extreme pre-Covid rent arrears.
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