Government ‘working to ensure evictions return smoothly’ – minister

2 July 2020 | Renting

Government ‘working to ensure evictions return smoothly’ - minister

The government says it’s currently working to ensure the eviction process returns smoothly when the ban expires in late August.

In the House of Commons yesterday, in response to a question about evictions, the housing minister Chris Pincher said: “The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is working closely with the Ministry of Justice and the judiciary on arrangements, including new rules, to ensure that when the moratorium on evictions ends, the courts are better able to address the need for appropriate protection of all parties, including those shielding from Coronavirus.

“This judicial-led work is to ensure that judges will have all the information necessary to make just decisions in the current framework and that the most vulnerable tenants will get the help they need.”

Pincher made no reference to the current date at which the moratorium is expected to end – August 24 – and the most recent extension to the original ban was not announced until a week before it was scheduled to end.

However, as we reported on Letting Agent Today last evening, the government appears to have confirmed that the evictions ban will end in late August and courts will resume hearing possession cases from that time. 

Responding to a series of parliamentary questions, Lord Greenhalgh – a junior minister at the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government – has said that from August 24 “the courts will begin to process possession cases again”.

After what would be a five month suspension, the Minister argued that this would be “an important step towards ending the lockdown and will protect landlords’ important right to regain their property.” 

He reiterated however that work is ongoing to ensure “the most vulnerable tenants can get the help they need when possession cases resume.”

The minister confirmed that under plans to end Section 21 repossessions as part of the Renters’ Reform Bill, ministers want to ensure that “landlords are able to swiftly and smoothly regain their property through the courts where they have a legitimate reason to do so.”

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said of the news last evening: “The minister’s comments provide greater certainty for the rental market.

“We continue to work hard with landlords and tenants to sustain tenancies wherever possible. In the vast majority of cases this is happening.

“It is vital however that swift action can be taken against those tenants committing anti-social behaviour or domestic violence.  We are calling also for priority to be given to cases where possession orders were granted prior to lockdown or where rent arrears have nothing to do with the COVID pandemic.”

This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.