Covid 19 – Ban on Evictions and Notice Periods Extended
- Stay on possession proceedings extended to 20 September 2020
- Notice for possession extended from 3 months to 6 months
In March 2020, the Government imposed legislation to protect renters from eviction during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic (see our previous posts here and here and here). The legislation prevents landlords from obtaining new "possession orders" to evict their tenants and from enforcing existing orders.
The Coronavirus Act 2020 previously placed a stay on "possession proceedings" for 90 days from 27 March 2020 which was due to end on 27 June 2020. On 05 June 2020, this stay was extended further until 23 August 2020.
At the '11th hour' on 20 August 2020, the Chancellor wrote to the Master of the Rolls and the Civil Procedure Rules Committee and asked for the rules to be amended to allow for the stay to be extended by a further four weeks, until 20 September 2020. The Master of the Rolls stated that despite the "extremely unusual nature and timing" of the letter, the committee was bound to follow the direction.
It is hoped that this further time will be used to put in to place a more permanent and long-term solution to issues caused by the stay in possession proceedings.
Whilst the stay in possession proceedings may provide temporary relief to renters at risk of eviction, in the case of rental arrears, the stay will simply add to the mounting debt, and will need to be dealt with later down the line.
Landlords who themselves are suffering financially will be unlikely to welcome further interim measures, with no pragmatic solution on the horizon.
The Government has also announced, that to protect renters throughout winter, the notice period required for possession has been extended from three months to six months.
When the stay is eventually lifted, the Courts will prioritise extreme cases such as those involving crime, abuse or anti-social behaviour, or cases where landlords have not received rent for over a year.
The Government announcement can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/news/jenrick-extends-ban-on-evictions-and-notice-periods.
If you are a landlord or tenant and are concerned about the extension to the stay, rental arrears, or have any queries regarding possession of rented property, please contact our specialist Private Dispute Solicitor, Selica Khan, on 01922 728110.