Coronavirus  

Govt extends eviction ban

Govt extends eviction ban

The government has once again extended its ban on evictions in the aftermath of the coronavirus lockdown, with the stay on legal evictions now expected to end next month.

In a statement at the end of last week the government confirmed the ban on landlords evicting tenants in England and Wales had been extended by four weeks, having initially been due to end yesterday (August 23). 

It is the second time the ban has been extended as the government moves to protect renters in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

It comes as Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick pledged to "support renters over winter" by enforcing six month notice periods on most landlords in England until at least the end of March next year.

The extension means no legal evictions will have taken place in England and Wales for six months, despite warnings previously sounded that the ban could "cripple" the rental market. 

In June the National Residential Landlords Association warned an extension of the ban would serve as a 'further impetus" to landlords leaving the market with confidence at an "all-time low".

In last week's statement the government said the "vast majority" of landlords had shown "understanding and leadership" by taking action to support tenants.

Mr Jenrick said: "I know this year has been challenging and all of us are still living with the effects of Covid-19."

But the Housing Secretary said when courts did resume eviction hearings the "most egregious cases" would be prioritised, including cases of anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse and instances where landlords had not received rent for over a year and faced "unmanageable debts". 

Data published by UK Finance earlier this month found buy-to-let mortgage arrears had risen by 6 per cent in the second quarter of this year, as government measures to curb the effects of the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

Since March borrowers struggling to make their mortgage repayments because of the coronavirus have been able to take a payment deferral, with mortgage arrears consequently remaining low in Q2, according to UK Finance.

UK Finance said more than 2m mortgage payment deferrals had been approved to date, with just under 1m still in place.

Lenders also agreed a moratorium on possession action as a result of the coronavirus, which is due to end on October 31.

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

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