The Government has today announced an extension to the ban on evictions until 20 September 2020.
In a statement posted on the UK Governments portal, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick issued the bad news for landlords.
The statement highlighted the following key points:
– Ban on evictions continues for 4 weeks taking the total ban to 6 months
– New 6 month notice periods to be in place until at least 31 March 2021
– Once eviction hearings restart, the judiciary will carefully prioritise the most serious cases including those involving anti-social behaviour and domestic abuseJenrick extends ban on evictions and notice periods
Impact On Landlords
While the Government claim that 87% of tenants have continued to pay their full rent since the start of the COVID pandemic, this move will undoubtedly have negative consequences for those landlords who have tenants who are unable or unwilling to pay.
Even when courts re-open to eviction cases in September the Government has made it clear that cases involving anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse will be the priority. This will mean that landlords that are simply seeking what they are owed will go to the back of the line.
Alex Cook, director of litigation firm Helix Law, speaking to iNews said: “The fear is these claims won’t be heard for many months or possibly even years because the courts will be at maximum capacity.” He said that many of his clients haven’t been paid any rent in over a year!
Opinion: Unbalanced Response
The supposedly pro-business Conservative government seems to be taking a rather unbalanced approach to this issue. It is right and proper that renters are being protected from homelessness caused by no fault of their own. But there must also be protections put in place for landlords, many of whom are not wealthy themselves.
If the Government is going to force private individuals to house people perhaps they could also cover any unpaid rent (and recover this from the tenant at a later stage)? Perhaps evictions could be allowed to go ahead in cases where the tenant hasn’t shown willingness to negotiate or shown that their income has been affected by the lockdown? Whatever the solution is, simply putting the burden on landlords isn’t the answer.