Housing secretary Robert Jenrick (picture, above) has announced that the current ban on bailiff evictions, which was due to end on Monday, is to be extended for six weeks until February 21st.
“We are extending the ban on bailiff evictions – helping to protect the most vulnerable renters,” says housing secretary Robert Jenrick.
The announcement, which has been widely expected since Boris Johnson said the current ‘Christmas truce’ bailiff ban was under review in parliament on Wednesday, will not go down among landlords.
But the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) says it has secured some leeway form the government, in the form an exemption for landlords with arrears greater than six months, an improvement on the previous position of nine months’ rent arrears.
“The repossessions ban is a sticking plaster that will ultimately lead to more people losing their homes,” says NRLA Chief Executive Ben Beadle (pictured).
“It means tenants’ debts will continue to mount to the point where they have no hope of paying them off leading eventually to them having to leave their home.
“Instead, the Government should recognise the crisis facing many tenants and take immediate action to enable them to pay their debts as is happening in Scotland and Wales.
“The objective should be to sustain tenancies in the long term and not just the short term.”
Oli Sherlock of Goodlord adds: “The Government’s motives here are completely understandable and it’s vital we continue to support tenants during this latest phase of restrictions.
“Indeed, landlords and tenants have, on the whole, been working well together throughout the crisis to create payment plans and strategies that keep people in their homes.
“We are concerned, however, that a further extension to the ban without additional provisions for landlords and tenants is storing up even more trouble for the future.”
Mark Hayward, Chief Policy Advisor for Propertymark, says: “In light of the recent lockdown, it is no surprise the UK Government has made today’s announcement, yet over the past few weeks the UK Government has held off updates about evictions to the sector making it impossible for agents to respond and plan for the difficult winter months ahead.
“The whole of the private rented sector has been impacted as a result of COVID-19 but we must recognise that the courts already faced a backlog of cases prior to the pandemic.”
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter (pictured), says: “You cannot follow the order to stay at home if you don’t have one – making the government’s decision to stop bailiffs from physically evicting people this winter the right call.
“While this ban doesn’t halt the evictions process entirely, it is the minimum required to keep more people safe in their homes.
“Even with the bailiff ban extended until February, we know people will still become homeless. The government’s extra £10 million for rough sleeping support and to make sure people are registered with a GP is very welcome and essential.”