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Tenant eviction orders put on three-month hold

Written by: Shekina Tuahene
All ongoing housing possessions and the court process for landlords to evict tenants have been suspended in England and Wales for three months, the government confirmed.

As of today, all housing possessions which are underway will not progress through to eviction for 90 days.

Landlords must give renters three months’ notice if they want to end a tenancy, but they are not allowed to apply to start the court process until after this period.

This extended grace period will apply in law until 30 September 2020 and the three-month notice can be increased if needed.

If a tenant has not moved out of the premises after the notice period, the landlord can apply for a court order.

All of these measures apply to private and social renters, as well as those with mortgages and those with licenses covered by the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

Legal obligations

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) said tenants were still obliged to pay rent and should seek support if necessary. It encouraged landlords and tenants to work together to set up a rent payment scheme.

Since the coronavirus pandemic took hold, the government has announced it will pay up to 80% of an employee’s wages to ensure they are still able to pay for rent and other expenses.

For those with tenants on benefits, Universal Credit and Housing Benefit will increase and from April, Local Housing Allowance rates will pay for at least 30% of market rents in each area.

Buy to let landlords are also eligible for three-month mortgage payment holidays and the self-employed can claim up to 80% of their profits if they face financial difficulties due to the pandemic.

Landlords are still legally required to ensure properties meet standards and urgent, essential health and safety repairs should be made.

Any non-urgent repairs can be postponed following an agreement between tenants and landlords.

The right decision 

David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark said: “However difficult it may be, this is the right decision in light of the current circumstances. Yet evictions will not be required if we can keep the rent flowing.

“The latest advice is that people stay put, and as long as the government helps tenants pay their rent, there will not be a large build-up of debt from rent arrears, meaning there will be no logical reason why a landlord would start eviction proceedings.”

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