Eviction ban ends but it’s under “constant review” insists minister

Housing Minister Chris Pincher says the eviction ban is formally over but the situation remains under “constant review” as the second wave of Coronavirus hits.

In a series of tweets over the weekend Pincher detailed the measures taken by government to safeguard private tenants.

However he hinted that future policy on evictions would be guided by health experts.

Pincher tweeted: “We have taken unprecedented action to support renters during the pandemic, including banning evictions for six months, helping businesses to pay salaries and providing an extra £1bn in Local Housing Allowance.

“Last week we went further to support both tenants and landlords. Notice periods have been increased to six months, meaning renters now served notice can stay in their homes over Christmas, with time to find alternative support or accommodation

“We’re mindful of the effect on landlords, which is why there are exceptions for the most egregious cases, including where tenants have demonstrated anti-social behaviour or committed fraud

“For renters requiring further support, £180m of funding for Discretionary Housing Payments was made available this year for councils to help renters with housing costs

“We have also published new guidance to help landlords and tenants in England and Wales understand the possession action process and court system rules … We keep these measures under constant review and our decisions will continue to be guided by the latest public health advice.”

Meanwhile Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, issued a statement welcoming the ban’s end.

“After a six month ban on repossessions it is important that landlords can start to take action to tackle the most serious cases. This includes those where tenants are committing anti-social behaviour or domestic violence and situations where rent arrears were building before lockdown and have nothing to do with Covid-19” says Beadle.

“The framework put in place by the judiciary and the government largely strikes the right balance between the needs of landlords in such situations and those of tenants affected by the pandemic.

“We continue to encourage landlords to work with their tenants to sustain tenancies wherever possible, making use of the guidance we have prepared. To support this the government should follow the example of Scotland and Wales and develop a stronger financial package to help tenants to pay off rent arrears built since the lockdown started.

“Ministers also need to address the crisis faced by those landlords who have rented their homes out whilst working elsewhere. The six months’ notice required in such circumstances freezes them out of accessing their own homes, effectively making them homeless.”

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