Relief for tenants as a ban on evictions is extended

Relief for tenants as a ban on evictions is extended

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

Renters in England and Wales will continue to get support during the national lockdown, as the extension to the ban on bailiff evictions – which was due to expire today – will continue and will be kept under review.

The ban will remain in place for all except the most “egregious cases”, such as anti-social behaviour, for at least six weeks until 21 February in England and to the end of March in Wales. In Scotland, the eviction ban, which was set to end on 22 January, was extended to 31 March on Thursday.

The extension comes in the wake of calls by homeless and other charities to protect vulnerable renters who were falling behind in their repayments.

Announcing the measures on Friday, Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, said: “Court rules and procedures introduced in September to support both tenants and landlords will remain in place and regularly reviewed. The courts will continue to prioritise cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour, illegal occupation and perpetrators of domestic abuse in the social sector.

“Landlords continue to be required to give six-month notice periods to tenants until at least 31 March except in the most serious circumstances.”

What is the mediation pilot scheme?

Starting in February, a new mediation pilot in England and Wales will be set up to support landlords and renters who face court procedures and potential eviction. It will offer mediation as part of the possession process, with the aim of resolving issues quickly without the need for a formal hearing.

Councils are also being given extra funding to house rough sleepers during the cold winter months.

Who can I contact if I’m falling behind in my rent?

  • To find out more about the new rules in England and Wales and how they will affect you, read the government’s new guidance.
  • If you require additional support towards housing costs, contact your local council to check whether you are entitled to a Discretionary Housing Payment.
  • Contact your landlord right away. Try to suggest a payment plan to show them how you will gradually repay what you owe. They are not obliged to accept this, but some landlords will do.
  • Seek advice online or over the phone from a specialist service such as Shelter in England, Shelter Scotland (call 0808 800 444), Shelter Cymru for Wales (0345 075 5005) and Housing Rights in Northern Ireland (028 9024 5640). Or contact national charities such as Citizens Advice (0808 223 1133) or National Debtline (0808 808 4000).

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Relief for tenants as a ban on evictions is extended Relief for tenants as a ban on evictions is extended