Renters Granted Six-Week Extension on Eviction Ban

Len Burgess[1]

Len Burgess

Money Savings Advice After a Five-Month Suspension, the Bailiffs Are Back

The UK government has agreed to extend a ban on bailiff evictions for renters until 21st February 2021. During the first Coronavirus lockdown in March 2020, a freeze was placed on evictions in an attempt to protect renters from the economic fallout of the pandemic.

This ban was due to expire on 22nd January. Still, on Friday, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the ban on bailiff evictions would be extended for at least another six weeks to protect the most vulnerable renters.

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.

Said Robert Jenrick

In September, the government passed new laws increasing the notice period for evictions from 3 months to at least six months in all but the most serious cases.

Limited exceptions allowed courts to process shorter eviction notices for cases proven to involve anti-social behavior, domestic abuse, immigration breaches, 'false statements,' and rental arrears of over six months.

Bailiff evictions are the final step in possession notices, where renters are forced to give the property they live in back to its owner, the landlord. County Courts usually serve eviction notices, and in some cases, the High Court to give notice to renters that they must leave.

Before the new raft of legal changes, bailiffs only had to give 14 days' notice before trying to evict someone. The extension of the bailiff ban and a minimum of 6-month notice for eviction grants temporary relief to the thousands of renters at risk of eviction because of arrears.

In new research published on Tuesday, Citizens Advice reported some half a million private renters are behind on their rent. The average amount owed is £700, with nearly 6 in 10 of those in arrears having fallen behind on payments since the start of the pandemic.

Out of the renters the charity spoke to, around one in four reported having been threatened with eviction by their landlords.

Responding to the extended special measures, Alistair Cromwell, Acting Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

The government has made the right decision to extend this protection. Renters who are struggling with arrears shouldn't face the prospect of losing the roof over their head when everyone is being asked to stay at home. However, there are still hundreds of thousands of people in arrears, and this debt will continue to hang over them. The government should put in place targeted financial support for tenants in England who've fallen behind on their rent.

Housing policy is devolved in the UK, meaning that each of the home nations has the power to make its own legislation on housing issues.

Governments in Scotland and Wales have put in place a system of grants and government loans for private renters who are struggling due to the pandemic.

In England, homeowners - including landlords- can apply for a mortgage payment holiday of up to six months. However, there are no financial provisions to support private renters directly.

The UK government has agreed to extend a ban on bailiff evictions for renters until 21st February. During the first Coronavirus lockdown in March 2020, a freeze was placed on evictions in an attempt to protect renters from the economic fallout of the pandemic.

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.

He said

Limited exceptions allowed courts to process shorter eviction notices for cases proven to involve anti-social behavior, domestic abuse, immigration breaches, 'false statements,' and rental arrears of over six months.

Bailiff evictions are the final step in possession notices, when renters are forced to give the property they live in back to its owner, the landlord. Eviction notices are served by the courts- either the County Court or the High Court- and give notice to renters that they must leave.

Citizens Advice warned that overlooking private renters needs could fuel a homelessness crisis when the suspension on bailiff evictions finally comes to an end:

If the eviction ban ends, for some families, this will mean going from having a home to living out of a bag. They'll have to start their lives all over again - all due to an unprecedented situation that was totally out of their control.

 

Money Savings Advice Author Len Burgess

Len Burgess

Len Burgess is a professional financial writer who over the last five years has written hundreds of articles for all financial sectors. Len founded Money Savings Advice with the aim of helping consumers navigate their way around the financial world by providing easy to understand financial information and matching consumers with the best financial advisor based on their personal information.

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