Temporary Bans on Evictions

2020 has been a year of uncertainty and unprecedented decisions across most aspects of people’s day-to-day lives. Here at SMQ Legal we recognise that the COVID-19 global pandemic has been particularly straining on landlord-tenant relationships. Following the government guidance surrounding this topic, this article will aim to outline some key information you need regarding the end of temporary bans on evictions. Please note this information applies to England only, although some measures referred to will also apply in Wales.

Under the Coronavirus Act 2020, the UK Government announced the introduction of a number of measures to support landlords and tenants. This included the temporary ban on evictions, whereby landlords were not allowed to start proceedings to evict their tenants for at least a three-month period. However, this emergency legislation came to an end on 20 September. With this protection expired, tens of thousands of struggling private renters up and down the country will require some form of new legal protections and financial support if the government are to prevent a rise in homelessness. This has led to many campaign groups protesting for the Government to extend both the eviction ban and the furlough scheme, which is due to end on 31 October 2020, to protect those most at risk of losing their homes.

Despite the ban being lifted, landlords are not able to simply evict their tenants immediately. This is since the Government has stated all private renters served notice after 29 August 2020, expect in extremely serious circumstances, must have a six-month notice period. Consequently, this could enable tenants to live in their rented accommodation until at least March 2021 if they are served with an eviction notice in September. Thus, this provides private renters with slightly more protection and could decrease the risk of England seeing a rise in homelessness as the pandemic continues. The issue then is one of looking towards the future; a future the UK Government has promised  increased support for those facing eviction. But, will we see an inevitable rise in redundancies? What affect will this have on people’s ability to pay rent without any financial aid? And how will the Government react to protect the private renters of England from March?

Please note, as a tenant, the eviction is currently illegal if you:

  • are not given the notice required to leave the property (if you have an assured, assured shorthold or regulated tenancy, your landlord must give you three months to leave if you were given notice between 26 March 2020 and 28 August 2020 or six months to leave if you have been given notice since 29 August 2020);
  • find the locks have been changed; and/or
  • are evicted without a court order.

Whilst the above information relates to private tenants, the position for business tenants differs. The Government introduced a temporary ban on landlords evicting businesses if they failed to pay rent during COVID-19. This was due to end by October, however has been extended until the end of the year.

Equally, the hardship this places on Landlords who seek to recover rental for their own income during covid cannot be overlooked and the difficulties they now encounter to reclaim back any property for tenants who breach their lease conditions.

For further information, and to view the UK Government’s guidance for England, please click the following links:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/913301/Technical_Guidance_on_Eviction_Notices_August_update.pdf https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/915131/FINAL_200901_Letter_to_LA_Chief_Execs_Notice_Periods.pdf

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/914/made

by Hannah Stevens

Paralegal

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