How The Eviction Ban May Affect Landlords
On Friday 8th January, it was announced that eviction bans in England have been extended. Evictions could have started again on Monday 11th January, but the latest announcement means eviction notices will not be served for another six weeks.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said; “At the start of this pandemic we made sure that the most vulnerable in society were protected. This winter, we are continuing in this vein and redoubling our efforts to help those most in need. Our ongoing 'Everyone In' initiative is widely regarded as one of the most successful of its kind in the world, ensuring 33,000 people are safe in accommodation. We are now going further and focusing on GP registration of rough sleepers.”
A statement from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government says: “A new mediation pilot will further support landlords and renters who face court procedures and potential eviction from next month (February). It will offer mediation as part of the possession process to try and help landlords and tenants to reach a mutual agreement and keep people in their homes. Helping to resolve disputes through mediation will?enable courts to prioritise urgent cases, supporting landlords and tenants to resolve issues quickly without the need for a formal hearing. The mediation pilot will work within the existing court arrangements in England and Wales.”
Landlords have more power to evict tenants during the lockdown
However, for the first time under lockdown circumstances, landlords now have the power to evict tenants if they fail to pay their rent. Therefore, it should be noted, that under the updated guidance, tenants can be evicted from rental property, if they have been unable to pay their rent for a period of six months. Importantly, rent accrued since the pandemic began is no longer excluded.
This provides landlords with more control in dealing with problematic tenants.
NRLA has spoken out
Ben Beadle, the Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, NRLA, said; “The repossessions ban is a sticking plaster that will ultimately lead to more people losing their homes. Instead, the government should recognise the crisis facing many tenants and take immediate action to enable them to pay their debts as is happening in Scotland and Wales. The objective should be to sustain tenancies in the long term and not just the short term.”
He also said that ministers were “doing more harm than good” through “repeatedly banning repossessions”, and his reasoning is that this will place more debt on tenants, on top of their existing arrears.
Anti-eviction campaigner Vicky Spratt responded to the news on Twitter. Vicky said the extension of the “bailiff enforced element” isn’t enough, and she has also called for a “ban on possession claims by landlords”.
If you are facing issues with arrears or with difficult tenants, please do not hesitate to contact us on 020 8459 2530 and a member of our Lettings & Property Management team are happy to assist with providing you the facts.