Sent on behalf of John Hall, Director, Homelessness, Leasehold and Private Rented Sector, MHCLG
I hope you are keeping well during the current time.
I have recently taken over as the new Director covering the Private Rented Sector policy portfolio in MHCLG and I wanted to first introduce myself. I look forward to working with you in future.
You may have seen this evening’s announcement about the further measures the Government is taking to support those who rent their homes in either private or social rented housing and who are affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). The press notice is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ban-on-evictions-extended-by-2-months-to-further-protect-renters.
As you will know, the initial 90 day stay on housing possession claims in the court was expected to expire later this month. In recognition of the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 crisis and to ensure that renters continue to have certainty and security during this period, the decision has been taken to introduce a further stay on housing possessions of two months. This means that that no possession claims will be heard or progressed by the courts before 24 August 2020.
All private and social renters, as well as those with mortgages and those with licenses covered by the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, continue to be protected from eviction during this period. This will apply to both England and Wales.
The legislation, which requires landlords to give at least three months’ notice to evict tenants also remains in place and will last until 30 September 2020. We continue to strongly advise landlords not to commence or continue eviction proceedings during this challenging time without a very good reason to do so.
Our guidance to landlords and tenants – available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities – will be updated shortly to reflect this latest position.
This extended stay on possession proceedings does not change tenants’ obligations to pay rent and abide by all other terms of their tenancy agreement, and tenants should continue to do so to the best of their ability.
As this evening’s announcement sets out, the Government is also working with the judiciary on proposals to ensure that when evictions proceedings do recommence, arrangements, including rules, are in place to assist the court in giving appropriate protections for those who have been particularly affected by coronavirus – including those tenants who have been shielding. We intend to provide more information on this in due course.
In the meantime, wherever possible we continue to encourage landlords and tenants to work together to resolve disputes without the need for court action, including agreeing repayment plans where a tenant is unable to fully meet their rent.
We would urge you and the groups you represent to continue to observe the latest government guidance and public health advice on coronavirus available at: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
We are keen understand the issues that you may continue to be facing during this period and want to keep this constructive dialogue going, so we look forward to our continued engagement with you.
Thank you for your ongoing support and understanding.
Director, Homelessness, Leasehold and Private Rented Sector