Government extends ban on evictions – June 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting all areas of life in many and substantial ways - including housing and the private rented sector.

As is the case for many other areas, the government quickly brought in temporary measures relating to the Private Rented Sector, which have been further developed and updated.

We want to ensure that tenants and landlords understand the new measures and know where to find the most up-to-date information, help and advice.

The headline information and advice to Tenants and Landlords is:

  • The government has provided protection against eviction which effectively means that a landlord must give at least three months’ notice to start eviction proceedings until 30th September. In addition to this, all court proceedings for repossession are suspended until after 23rd August.
  • A support package has been made available by the Government to help tenants struggling to pay their rent – this includes the furlough scheme to help businesses continue to pay their staff and strengthening the benefits system safety net for renters.
  • Tenants should continue to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement to the best of their ability – it’s important to note that there is no rent free holiday for tenants.
  • Tenants and landlords are expected to work together – including agreeing flexible repayment plans – and evictions should be the last resort.
  • Landlords with buy to let mortgages helped with mortgage holidays where their tenants are experiencing difficulties in rent payments.

The government is also working on arrangements and rules for the courts to assist in making decisions in cases presented to it to support all parties, including vulnerable tenants.

They are also looking at guidance for private landlords (and social landlords) and the provision of information and sharing best practice.

The requirements for private landlords to follow a pre action protocol on eviction proceedings – with which social landlords need to comply currently – which government had previously announced have not yet been brought forward.

For those few tenancy types not covered (e.g. lodgers and those on licence) the government is advising them to follow the same guidance as other renters and landlords will still need to follow the correct procedures.

Illegal evictions remain a criminal offence, and correct processes (in most cases of serving notice, applying to court for possession and applying for a warrant for possession) must be followed.

GMCA, NRLA and other partners are working together on further advice and guidance to support landlords and tenants on the engagement and approach to this – we are hoping to get this resource out soon.

Further information

This is a complex area and for further details, we strongly encourage tenants and landlords to access and keep up to date with the following resources:

For both Tenants and Landlords

The Government’s guidance for renting, incorporating new legislation and advice about Covid-19

The council website where you live/where your property is situated will have information, advice and support for landlords, tenants

For Tenants

Advice from Shelter for tenants relating to COVID-19  

Your local Citizens Advice can provide general free, confidential and independent advice and information.

Entitled to who offer online benefit calculators, including specific advice on help available from benefits if you are affected by coronavirus

Tenants Union UK and ACORN – who work on behalf of tenants and others to improve the quality of life for renters

For Landlords

The National Residential Landlords Association https://www.nrla.org.uk/ offer a wealth of advice and guidance to support landlords