The tenant eviction ban that was introduced because of the Covid-19 pandemic ended in England on 31 May 2021.
The ban was put in place to give vital reassurance to families who were at risk of losing their homes. Council figures last year suggested that almost half a million households were at serious risk of becoming homeless as a result of the pandemic.
The end of the tenant eviction ban now means that unless someone living in a property has Covid-19 symptoms or is self-isolating, the bailiff/enforcement officer can carry out an eviction where a Possession order has been made by the court.
Eviction notice periods had been extended to six months during the pandemic but have dropped to four months since 1 June 2021 for most cases, including where the tenant has less than four months’ rent arrears.
The news has been welcomed by landlords who have struggled due to rent arrears but felt powerless to do anything to get their property back. However, it has caused fear amongst millions of tenants that they could be left homeless.
Subject to the planned Covid-19 ‘road map’, the Government plans to reduce notice periods to two months after 1 August 2021 for cases where there are less than four months of unpaid rent. Then on 1 October 2021, we should see a return to two-month notice periods for Section 21 Notices (no fault notices) which are the subject of a proposal to be abolished in a white paper due to be published in Autumn 2021.
The Ministry of Housing has said that tenants will continue to be supported as coronavirus restrictions ease. There is extensive financial support to help people meet their outgoings such as the furlough scheme and the Universal Credit uplift – both have been extended until the end of September 2021.
This is a fast moving and complicated area of law and if you get it wrong you face unnecessary delays, so it is best to seek legal advice early. If you would like to discuss any points in this article further or are looking for legal advice relating to evictions, either as a landlord or as a tenant, please contact Spire Solicitors LLP on 01603 677077.