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Evictions ban to be extended for ANOTHER six weeks, says housing secretary

Robert Jenrick says ban on bailiff evictions in England to be extended until February 21st and possibly beyond.

Nigel Lewis

jenrick

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.

Ben Beadle TDS Northern Ireland“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.”

Motives

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.”

Read the official announcement in full.

January 8, 2021

3 comments

  1. The Government has No perspective of the majority of single-property landlords many of whom have also been affected by the pandemic and rely of the rental income from one property to sustain their financial commitments.

    Landlords have costs and there is lip service to their predicament.
    The ‘worn record’ charade of conjoining Tenants AND Landlords is a fallacy.

    The government have Used Private landlords to foot the bill for its housing welfare responsibilities during the pandemic.

    The sad thing is that landlords are not united in sufficient numbers in order to respond.
    Some Tenants will pay 10% of their monthly rent to join an activist group whereas landlords won’t pay less than that one month of that for membership of a landlord Association ( any of them, there are many regional )

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with Andrew. This is a disaster whichever way you look at it, and whenever it comes to fruition.
    The most vulnerable in society have been supported by the private rental sector for over 40 years now but this is coming to an end.
    A combination of the inept lack of Tenant pandemic government financial housing support, and a politically motivated anti-LL path, based on the false narrative (in 99% of the industry) of exploitation, is about to create the biggest housing crisis since the 1950’s.
    There is a Build to Rent rescue plan, but this it will take 20 years to fill the void.
    For now, immediate financial Tenant support coupled with a far more positive strategy of LL engagement is the only way forward; certainly not more rushed, ill-conceived anti LL legislation.

  3. Jenrick says: “At the start of this pandemic we made sure that the most vulnerable in society were protected.”

    This extension of the eviction ban is not protecting vulnerable tenants just delaying the inevitable, whilst creating massive problems for landlords in the meantime. If they want to help tenants then offer interest free loans to tenants (paid direct to LL) or increase the level of LHA / housing element of UC.

    As LL debt rises their margin for flexibility reduces making evictions more likely, although delayed again. Some of my LL clients have more than 12 months arrears, many have 6 months+. They will not now offer tenants any leeway when the eviction ban is lifted. This will cause further chaos in the courts system, already long overdue a complete overhaul, and force more tenants into expensive emergency accommodation.

    Many tenants cannot afford to stay where they are, often through no fault of their own as jobs have evaporated or incomes have shrunk. Keeping them here helps on-one in the long term (although the obvious answer is that it helps councils in the short term as they would have to organise alternative accommodation for those evicted – and pay for it).

    The government cannot continue asking LL to foot the bill to house these people without giving them support too. Many LL are running out of cash and at the end of their tethers too.

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