Bailiffs will not go in if a local area is in lockdown that includes restrictions on gathering in homes, was the message from the government on Thursday, as they revealed their new measures surrounding tenant evictions in England and Wales.
Confirming that the 21 September would see court proceedings for evictions in England and Wales restarting following a six-month pause due to Covid-19, Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, said. “We have protected renters during the pandemic by banning evictions for six months, the longest eviction ban in the UK.”
Jenrick added, “To further support renters we have increased notice periods to six months, an unprecedented measure to help keep people in their homes over the winter months.
“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.”
According to the announcement, bailiffs will also be told that they should not enforce possession orders over Christmas, other than serious cases involving domestic abuse or antisocial behaviour.
However, as yet, the government has not indicated which dates the “winter truce” will cover.
Timothy Douglas, Policy and Campaigns Manager for ARLA Propertymark said, “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. The UK Government are moving the goalposts, introducing measures that will be difficult for many to implement, including staying on top of rapidly changing local lockdowns.
“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 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.”