A “Christmas truce” for landlords and tenants in England and Wales
By John Arnold, Partner and Head of Commercial Law
The UK Government has provided a further update on its eviction legislation for the private rental sector in England and Wales.
An initial ban on evictions, which was introduced at the start of the pandemic and subsequently extended three times, now also requires that landlords give tenants a six-month notice period, meaning that no tenant will find themselves evicted over the winter.
The Government measures also feature a “Christmas truce”, with no evictions permitted in the run-up to, or during the Christmas period, however, this will not apply in serious cases such as; domestic abuse, antisocial behaviour or where tenants have committed fraud.
In addition, if an area goes into a local lockdown that includes a restriction on gathering in homes, evictions will not be enforced by bailiffs.
The return of court proceedings
Court proceedings for evictions are due to resume from 21 September, however if a case does proceed to court, landlords will be required to provide information about how their tenants have been affected by the pandemic. If this information is not provided, a judge will be able to adjourn proceedings.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has said: “We have protected renters during the pandemic by banning evictions for six months – the longest eviction ban in the UK.
“To further support renters we have increased notice periods to six months, an unprecedented measure to help keep people in their homes over the winter months.
“It’s right that we strike a balance between protecting vulnerable renters and ensuring landlords whose tenants have behaved in illegal or anti-social ways have access to justice.”
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Please note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.