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Coronavirus latest: tenants to be given three months before evictions can start

Full details of Boris Johnson's announcement in parliament yesterday have now been published, including plans to give landlords mortgage payment holidays as well.

Nigel Lewis

boris johnson evictions

The government has published details of its plan to ban all evictions during the Coronavirus crisis and also revealed that landlords are to be given the same three-month mortgage holiday as residential property owners.

Yesterday Boris Johnson told parliament during Prime Minister’s Question Time that the UK’s 20 million people living in the Private Rented Sector would be protected from evictions until the Coronavirus pandemic abates.

But late yesterday full details of the announcement were published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

This includes how landlords or letting agents wishing to evict a tenant will have to wait three months before starting proceedings.

Mortgage holiday

In return, the ministry says the three-month mortgage payment holiday granted to residential home owners yesterday will now be extended to landlords ‘whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to coronavirus’.

“This will alleviate the pressure on landlords, who will be concerned about meeting mortgage payments themselves, and will mean no unnecessary pressure is put on their tenants as a result,” the statements says.

“At the end of this period, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances.”
Secretary of State Robert Jenrick, says: “These are extraordinary times and renters and landlords alike are of course worried about paying their rent and mortgage.

“Which is why we are urgently introducing emergency legislation to protect tenants in social and private accommodation from an eviction process being started.”

Evictions reaction

Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action: “These are unprecedented times and all landlords must now work collaboratively with their tenants to come to solutions to get us through this public health crisis and move forward after. The measures taken are right and fair; no one wants to see a tenant be forced out of their home due to loss of income as a result of coronavirus, nor does anyone want to see landlords face unmanageable debts.  With this in mind, we will shortly be launching a tenant mediation service which will involve Landlord Action working collabratively with the Property Redress Scheme to offer support to both landlords and tenants to come to suitable arrangements for the future.”

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Shelter: “News the government is to legislateto stop renters being evicted from their homes during the coronavirus crisis, will come as a great relief to many people. Without this decisive action tens of thousands of renters would have faced eviction in the coming months, while potentially trying to isolate and protect themselves and others.

Joint statement by NRA/RLA: “No responsible landlord will be considering evicting tenants because of difficulties arising from the current situation. There does need to be some flexibility though such as with dealing with a tenant engaging in anti-social behaviour. This could cause misery for fellow tenants or neighbours especially when they are going to be spending a lot of time together.

David Alexander, boss of lettings platform Apropos: “Everybody -agents, tenants and landlords – needs to work together and communicate clearly and effectively over the next few months. These are extraordinarily difficult times and the more support that can be provided to reassure landlords and tenants the greater likelihood that the private rented sector will come through this crisis in good shape.”

Isobel Thompson, Chief Executive of safeagent: “During these challenging times there has to be give and take on all sides of the Private Rented Sector. These measures are the right response to the extraordinary times we find ourselves in. safeagent firms have already been preparing their landlords that the Coronavirus would lead to inevitable rent arrears. Now, agents have an important role to play in trying to support both tenants and landlords, and maintain equilibrium.”

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals: “The pandemic may have a devastating effect on many people’s financial well-being and as a result, the government has once again stepped in to ensure that people are not punished for the steps taken to combat the COVID-19 outbreak,

“Tenants who are experiencing financial difficulty due to the coronavirus can rest assured that they will have a roof over their head during this challenging time, and landlords will be financially protected in the short term, as they will not have to pay their buy-to-let mortgage for the next three months.

This is further proof that the housing market is being supported and underpinned by the government support which is reassuring news for all.”

Read more about evictions.


March 19, 2020

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