The government has announced new modifications to its evictions policy including a ‘Christmas truce’ and a total ban within any existing or future local lockdowns, if they include a prohibition on gathering in homes.
But these changes for England and Wales, where the ban is due to run out on September 21st, have been slammed by ARLA Propertymark as ‘moving the goal posts’ and ‘difficult for many agents and landlords to implement’.
“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,” it says.
Propertymark also claims the new measures mean that 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”.
“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 has also confirmed that – barring a U-turn – it does not intend to extend the blanket ban past September 21st. It has also set out exemptions to the new rules, which will allow evictions if a tenant has been involved in anti-social behaviour, domestic violence, certain crimes including fraud and extreme rent arrears.
Ministers have also made an additional £40 million available within its Discretionary Housing Payments fund which councils use to support the most vulnerable tenants.
“It’s right that we strike a balance between protecting vulnerable renters and ensuring landlords whose tenants have behaved in illegal or anti-social ways have access to justice,” says Housing secretary Robert Jenrick.
“Our legislation means such cases will be subject to shorter notice periods and then prioritised through the judiciary’s new court processes.”