Ban on rental evictions in England and Wales extended till August
Renters in England and Wales are set to get another two months' breathing space as the Government has extended the ban on evictions put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The extension, announced today by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, means no tenant can be evicted from private or socially rented housing in England and Wales until at least 23 August 2020. The ban had been due to end on 25 June.
As previously announced, if a landlord does want to evict a tenant in England or Wales, they will still need to give at least three months' notice before starting proceedings to do so.
The Government has also said it's working with the courts and judges to devise a set of rules to help those who have been particularly affected by coronavirus to ensure that they're protected when evictions do restart.
In April, the Scottish Government brought in legislation requiring landlords in Scotland to give six months' notice before starting an eviction where a tenant couldn't pay due to coronavirus. And in Northern Ireland, landlords need to give 12 weeks' notice, and courts are not hearing eviction cases during the coronavirus crisis.
What should I do if I'm struggling to pay my rent?
If you'll struggle to pay rent during the coronavirus outbreak, you should speak to your landlord as soon as possible to let them know your situation and work out a repayment plan. While you can't be evicted until August at the earliest, you can fall into arrears, so it's important to talk to your landlord and let them know what's happening.
The Government's guidance is "encouraging tenants and landlords to work together to put in place a rent payment scheme". We've seen this guidance be interpreted in different ways. While some landlords are proactively contacting tenants and reassuring them that they can work out new repayment arrangements if they suffer financial hardship, others are playing hardball, and not offering to make any adjustments.
If you're struggling, also check to see if you're receiving all the financial help you're entitled to, which may include the universal credit benefit. Universal credit can include local housing allowance, which covers at least 30% of the lowest rents in your area. See our Coronavirus Universal Credit & Benefits guide for more info.
What does the Government say?
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: "We have provided an unprecedented package of support for renters during this pandemic. Today, I am announcing that the Government's ban on evictions will be extended for another two months. That takes the moratorium on evictions to a total of five months.
"Eviction hearings will not be heard in courts until the end of August and no one will be evicted from their home this summer due to coronavirus.
"We are also working with the judiciary on proposals to ensure that when evictions proceedings do recommence, arrangements, including rules, are in place to assist the court in giving appropriate protections for those who have been particularly affected by coronavirus – including those tenants who have been shielding."