The government has formally announced a pause in evictions in England until January 11 at the earliest.
The only exceptions to this will be what the government calls “the most egregious cases”including where tenants have demonstrated anti-social behaviour or are the perpetrator of domestic abuse in social housing, and the landlord rightly would like to re-let their property to another tenant.
Large scale arrears accumulated before the Coronavirus will also be an appropriate reason for an eviction to go ahead.
Courts will remain open throughout the lockdown with the COVID-safe rules and procedures introduced in September.
These include the strict prioritisation of cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour and other crimes.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick says: “We have already taken unprecedented action to support renters during the pandemic including introducing a six month notice period and financial support to help those struggling to pay their rent.
“We are now going further by protecting renters from eviction during the new national restrictions [lockdown] and throughout the Christmas period – with a pause on bailiff activity other than in the most serious circumstances, such as anti-social behaviour or fraud.
“Striking the right balance between helping tenants in need while ensuring landlords have access to justice in the most serious cases.
For those renters who require additional support, there is an existing £180m of government funding for Discretionary Housing Payments for councils to distribute to support renters with housing costs.
“Whilst national restrictions apply, the only circumstances where these protections do not apply are illegal occupation, fraud, anti-social behaviour, eviction of domestic abuse perpetrators in social housing; where a property is unoccupied following the death of a tenant. We also intend to introduce an exemption for extreme pre-Covid rent arrears.”
This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.