New rules on repossessions
New Government rules mean that possession orders for arrears will only be enforced in cases where tenants built significant arrears pre-Covid.
Orders for cases which rely on significant arrears built by tenants after March 23 will now be put on ice until after the ‘Christmas truce’ period, which ends on January 11.
The NRLA has campaigned in support of landlords whose tenants had built significant arrears that pre-dated and were unrelated to Covid-19.
But while we welcome the Government’s decision to accept our recommendation and exempt these cases from the current pause on repossessions, we have serious concerns that the new rules will mean tenants can now build almost 18 months of rent arrears without any sanction.
What do the new rules say?
Under the new plans, possession orders by the courts related to rent arrears can only be enforced where the arrears amount to nine months or more of rent built before 23rd March. This will remain the case until 11th January 2021.
However the NRLA is concerned this does nothing to address housing debt accrued since the beginning of the pandemic and believes the Government has missed a golden opportunity to help those tenants in financial difficulty due to Covid-19.
The association is continuing to lobby Ministers for a comprehensive financial package that will allow tenants struggling as a result of the pandemic to continue to pay their rent.
Ben Beadle, NRLA Chief Executive said: “In trying to arrive at a compromise the Government has failed to help those in genuine need whilst rewarding those whose arrears have nothing to do with the pandemic, and in some cases are wilfully not paying their rent.
“This is doing nothing to help those tenants who are trying to do the right thing and seeking to pay off their debts.
“Instead of prolonging the problem with short-term fixes, the Government needs to urgently bring in a financial package to enable tenants to pay off rent arrears.”