On Friday 21st August, an additional four-week extension to the eviction ban was announced. This meant that landlords couldn’t evict residential tenants for another four weeks to 20 September 2020. In addition to this, residential tenants will need to be given 6 months’ notice of eviction, until March 2021.
This eviction ban extension came at the last minute. Evictions were due to resume on Monday 24th August after being halted for five months during the pandemic. Clearly, there needs to be additional measures put into place to safeguard tenants from facing homelessness, but experts in the industry are questioning whether one more month changes anything.
Striking the balance between landlords’ and tenants’ rights
The pandemic has had a seismic knock on effect to people in many different ways.
Homeowners were granted mortgage holidays. Aside from furlough to help pay bills, there was little more help for renters to be able to pay their rent.
Stories on the news over the past few weeks have highlighted the issue of being laid off, having to claim universal credit, and then that not being enough to cover all bills. Shelter has commented that more than 170,000 private tenants have already been threatened with eviction, despite the eviction ban.
It is worthwhile noting that not all tenants in arrears are at risk of eviction. Most will have been able to make arrangements directly with their landlords where necessary. The courts have assured that if there is failure to demonstrate taking the pandemic into account before eviction, the hearing will be adjourned.
Guidance for Tenants
The most sensible place to start would be with Citizens Advice. They have a dedicated hub of guidance on the steps you can take to prepare, or conversations you can have with your landlord if you are struggling to pay.
If, after seeking advice from Citizens Advice, and further down the line you are facing eviction by your landlord, you should seek legal advice to help you manage the process should it go to court.
Guidance for Landlords
The National Residential Landlords Association provides lots of guidance for landlords. Some landlords are still seeking payment or eviction of tenants from pre-Covid, before the eviction ban was put in place, so they have been left powerless and in a difficult position to recover funds and property.
What is the solution?
Really, the only way that a solution can be reached is if there is a plan in place to support households to pay their bills, whilst also compensating landlords for their losses.
The question is, will this be done within the four week eviction ban extension?
Our dispute resolution team is well versed in handling landlord and tenant disputes. So, when the times comes that the courts can re-open, we are here to help. If you or someone you know feels at risk of homelessness, please contact Shelter for free guidance.