The latest announcement from Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick suggests the eviction ban WILL end at last on September 20.
However, more concessions have been made with a commitment from the government not to stage evictions over the Christmas period in England, while in parts of the country undergoing local lockdowns there will be no enforcement of evictions by bailiffs.
In addition the government has changed the law to increase notice periods to six months meaning renters now served notice can stay in their homes over winter, with time to find alternative support or accommodation.
The only exceptions to this are what the government calls “the most egregious cases” including where tenants have demonstrated anti-social behaviour or committed fraud.
A statement from Jenrick last evening outlined the new measures and added: “This support [for tenants] builds on the unprecedented package the government has put in place to help communities through the pandemic, including support for businesses to pay staff salaries and strengthening the welfare safety-net with a nearly £9.3 billion boost to the welfare system.
“This includes an extra £1 billion to increase Local Housing Allowance rates so that they cover the lowest 30 per cent of market rents, meaning we now spend £25 billion supporting households to meet the cost of rent in the private and social rented sectors.
“For those renters who require additional support, there is an existing £180 million of government funding for Discretionary Housing Payments made available this year, an increase of £40 million from last year and which is for councils to distribute to support renters with housing costs.”
ARLA Propertymark’s Timothy Douglas, Policy and Campaigns Manager, comments: “Over the past few weeks the government has drip fed updates about evictions to the sector making it impossible for agents to respond and plan for the difficult months ahead. The UK government are moving the goal posts, introducing measures that will be difficult for many to implement, including staying on top of rapidly changing local lockdowns.
“Whilst it looks like there will no further delays on the resumption of possession hearings, agents have profound concerns about investment in housing and this announcement offers no further support for the sector.
“The government must now look at additional measures to provide direct finance to landlords and tenants to cover Covid related arrears and help boost confidence in the sector as we head into the winter.”
This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.