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Ban on Residential Housing Evictions has been Extended

View profile for Usman Anwar
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The news that the Government in England and Wales has suspended housing possession proceedings for a further two months has been welcomed by tenants, practitioners and Housing Solicitors alike.

The Government provided an unprecedented package of support to renters during the coronavirus pandemic and with this news, it extends the moratorium on evictions to five months in total.

The good news is that no one will be evicted from their home this summer due to the coronavirus and no eviction hearings will be heard in the courts until the end of August. The ban expires on 23 August 2020. Whilst people have been worried about their future, jobs and health they haven’t had to worry about the threat of losing their homes too.

The guidance produced by the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government states that those in the system or about to go into the system will not be evicted. A landlord cannot obtain a court order to evict a tenant until after 23 August 2020.

Normally the number of residential possession claims brought to the county court each year in England and Wales amounts to around 138,000.  The Court of Appeal, in a recent case confirmed that the suspension also includes appeals for possession orders. Many defendants in these types of claims are vulnerable and unrepresented.

Property and Commercial Litigation Solicitor Usman Anwar advises, “Tenants should be aware that they are still liable for rent and should be paying this as normal.  We would encourage those who are finding difficulty in paying their rent to speak to their landlord.”

What can landlords do in cases of rent arrears?

Residential landlords can still serve eviction notices. The Government brought in emergency legislation in March 2020 which extended the notice period required to be given under section 8 and 21 notices. Landlords are now required to give 3 months’ notice before being able to issue possession proceedings.

Landlords should consider serving a section 8 notice in cases of rent arrears and/or other breaches of the tenancy agreement, but also work with the tenant and agree on an affordable rent repayment plan where possible. Tenants should be requested to pay what rent they can, and any shortfall should be paid back in a manner agreed by the parties.

If you would like further information and advice on landlord and tenants disputes please contact our Commercial Litigation team on 0161 785 3500 or email Usman Anwar directly usman.anwar@pearsonlegal.co.uk or complete an online enquiry form.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.