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Tenant eviction notice period extended six months

Written by: Shekina Tuahene
The notice period to evict tenants from their homes has been extended until March next year following emergency legislation to support renters affected by the pandemic through the colder months.

This is part of a ‘winter truce’ announced by the government to protect tenants over the Christmas period and bailiffs will be ordered to not enforce possession orders during this time. 

Exceptions to this will be circumstances where tenants display anti-social behaviour, have committed fraud or where the landlord wants to re-let to another tenant, housing secretary Robert Jenrick said. 

Additionally, if a property is in an area where a local lockdown has been imposed, evictions will not be enforced by bailiffs. 

For previous evictions that were suspended for six months due to the coronavirus, possession hearings will resume from 21 September. 

The courts will prioritise cases which involve crimes or extreme rent arrears which would leave landlords with unmanageable debts. 

Cases from before 3 August will not immediately proceed to a hearing but instead, will need to be reactivated by the landlord before being subjected to a review for a new hearing. 

Landlords must provide the courts and judges with information of how tenants have been impacted by the pandemic. If this information is not given, judges will have the authority to adjourn a hearing until evidence is supplied. 

This legislation applies to properties in England and Wales. 

Jenrick 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. Our legislation means such cases will be subject to shorter notice periods and then prioritised through the judiciary’s new court processes.” 

Alicia Kennedy, director at Generation Rent, said: “It is welcome that renters will not face eviction by bailiffs around Christmas or where there are lockdown measures. But outside that, thousands of renters who have had eviction notices during the pandemic still have no assurance from the government whether they can stay in their home.

“Those who have lost income will find it difficult to find a new home so face many months of uncertainty, getting deeper into debt. The government must offer them more support than a Discretionary Housing Payment pot that was set up before the pandemic hit.”

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