Possession Orders Central Housing Group

Government update – Eviction ban extended

Dear colleague

We have received the following notification from the Government this afternoon.

The Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick, has announced extra support to protect rough sleepers and renters from the effects of COVID-19. Backed by £10million of extra funding, councils will be asked to increase efforts to house rough sleepers and work with them to ensure they are registered with GPs. This access will help to ensure those sleeping rough will be able to access the vaccine, in line with priority groups as set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. Councils will also be asked to reach out again to those who have previously refused help, given the scale of the pandemic and the colder winter months.

Renterswill also continue to besupportedduring the new nationalrestrictions with an extension of the ban on bailiff enforcement of evictions for all but the most serious cases for at least six weeks –up to the end of 21 February 2021 – with measures kept under review. There are exemptions for the most serious cases which are illegal occupation, false statement, anti-social behaviour, perpetrators of domestic abuse in the social sector, where a property is unoccupied following death of a tenant and serious rent arrears greater than 6 months’ rent.

Court rules and procedures introduced in September in response to the pandemic remain in place and courts will continue to prioritise the most serious cases such as anti-social behaviour, illegal occupiers and those committing domestic abuse offences in the social sector. All landlords will continue to be required to give six month notice periods to tenants until at least 31 March except in the most serious circumstances and we will review whether an extension to this measure is needed and provide more detail on this in due course.

As well as this, a new mediation pilot will further support landlords and renters who face court procedures and potential eviction from next month (February). It will offer mediation as part of the possession process to try and help landlords and tenants to reach a mutual agreement and keep people in their homes.

We are updating our COVID-19 and Renting guidance to reflect the return to a national lockdown and extension of the ban on bailiff enforcement. This guidance will be available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities

The guidance on navigating the possession process for landlords and tenants in the social and private rented sectors is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/understanding-the-possession-action-process-guidance-for-landlords-and-tenants

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