In a last-minute change, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced that the government has delayed the ending of the evictions ban until 20th September. The government also intends to give tenants greater protection from eviction over the winter by requiring landlords to provide tenants with 6 months’ notice in all bar those cases raising other serious issues such as those involving anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse perpetrators, until at least 31st March 2021.
Usually, if the landlord wishes to take back possession of a property either at the end of a fixed-term tenancy agreement, or during a tenancy with no fixed end date, they will issue a Section 21 notice. This is the legal way they can give someone notice to leave a property. A Section 21 notice is often called a “no-fault eviction” because the landlord does not have to give a reason for their decision. If a tenant has broken the terms of their rental agreement, by not paying rent, damaging the property, or causing a nuisance, the landlord can issue a Section Eight eviction notice.
The announcement will initially seem like a positive one, and for many it will be, but there will be a view that such an extension of evictions will have repercussions as it is simply pushing issues further down the line rather than dealing with them now. Tenants unable to pay some or all of their rent will be seeing their personal debt increasing, landlords with mortgages will be increasingly financially squeezed and those with tenancies involving anti-social behaviour, etc will be feeling increasingly stressed and frustrated at not being able to deal with the matters at hand.
As it stands eviction hearings will be restarted in late September and the government has stated it will prioritise the most serious cases included those involving anti-social behaviour and other crimes, and ones where landlords have not received rent for more than a year.
Industry experts are encouraging the government to utilise this time to review the situation and provide proper guidance to both tenants and landlords. If this time is not utilised wisely and a better, more robust plan devised, we are likely to experience a compounding the issues and both landlords and tenants will suffer as a result.