It’s been several months since COVID-19 hit the UK, and the full extent of its impact is now becoming evident. One of the greatest issues has been employment, with many people losing their jobs or being put on furlough.
This meant that some tenants have been unable to pay their rent. In response, the government introduced a ‘ban’ on evictions, which was originally scheduled to run until 23rd August 2020. This ban has now been extended – here’s more information.
The temporary eviction rules
Usually, if a landlord wishes to evict a tenant, they’ll need to issue a Section 21 notice. This is sometimes referred to as a ‘no-fault eviction’, due to the fact that the landlord doesn’t need to provide a reason for asking the tenant to leave.
If the landlord has a reason for the eviction (i.e. the tenant can’t pay the rent), they’ll issue a Section Eight instead, outlining which part of the tenancy agreement has been broken.
However, the coronavirus pandemic meant that several tenants could no longer afford the rent. The eviction ban offered these individuals some protection, while they searched for new employment. Under the new ruling, landlords must give tenants six months’ notice if they want to end the tenancy. This protection is in place until 31st March, 2021.
Things to know about the temporary ban on evictions
- The new rules have only just been introduced in England. Wales already brought in a ‘six-month notice’ rule in July.
- There are exemptions to the ‘six-month’ rule. For example, if there’s evidence that the tenant is behaving anti-socially, or that domestic abuse is taking place, the eviction protection will not apply.
- Independent research on the gov.uk site, suggests that only a minority of tenants are affected. 87% have still been able to pay their rent, and 8% have negotiated terms with their landlord.
Questions and answers
I’m a tenant and can’t pay the rent – what should I do?
If you’re a tenant and you can’t afford the rent, the first thing to do is speak to your landlord or letting agency. In most cases, arrangements can be made that work for all parties involved.
What about support for landlords?
Landlords were offered a three-month mortgage holiday, which was put in place to support those affected by the pandemic.
I’m a landlord, and my tenant is behaving in an anti-social way / breaking the terms of the tenancy. What can I do?
If possible, try to come to an agreement with your tenant during this challenging time. If this isn’t an option, you can work with a mediator – an impartial third-party service that works with both tenant and landlord to find a resolution to the problem. In a worst-case scenario, you’re still within your rights to take the case to court.
What protection is there for tenants after the eviction ban has ended?
At present, the government hasn’t indicated it will extend the ban any further. However, given the unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 situation, this may be subject to change.