The government have announced that evictions will not be enforced whilst the national restrictions are in place.
Bailiff enforcement action is on halt until 11 January 2021 at the earliest, except for the most serious cases, such as anti-social behaviour, fraud and illegal occupation.
The courts will remain open during the national lockdown and cases of anti-social behaviour and other crimes will remain a priority.
Eviction notices can still be issued, but the six-month notice periods brought in earlier this year are expected to continue until at least March 2021.
Further information on eviction proceedings can be found here: GOV.UK Understanding the Possession Action Process.
Statement from the Housing Secretary
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP has issued the following statement:
“We have already taken unprecedented action to support renters during the pandemic including introducing a 6 month notice period and financial support to help those struggling to pay their rent.
“We are now going further by protecting renters from eviction during the new national restrictions and throughout the Christmas period – with a pause on bailiff activity other than in the most serious circumstances, such as anti-social behaviour or fraud.
“Striking the right balance between helping tenants in need while ensuring landlords have access to justice in the most serious cases.”
Whilst national restrictions apply, there are several circumstances that are exempt from the latest eviction protection measures. This includes:
- Illegal occupation
- Anti-social behaviour
- Domestic abuse perpetrators in social housing
- Where a property is unoccupied following the death of a tenant
The government also intend to introduce an exemption for extreme pre-Covid rent arrears, but there is no further information on this as of yet.
Rental market stays open
The Ministry of Housing has clarified that the housing market will remain open during the national lockdown; allowing move-ins, property viewings and visits from tradespeople to continue.
Jenrick has encouraged anyone moving home or visiting properties throughout the lockdown period to “following the current guidance” and “continue to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus”.
View the latest government guidance on viewings and move-ins here: GOV.UK Advice on Home Moving During the Coronavirus Outbreak.
Stay COVID-safe with virtual viewings
To minimise public health risks, the government advise that virtual viewings are carried out where possible before visiting properties in person.
We are pleased to offer a professional virtual tour service, allowing tenants to ‘visit’ your property directly from your property advert. Find out more about our 3D virtual tour service here.