Towards the end of August it was announced by the government that the ban on landlords evicting tenants in England and Wales would be extended for 4 weeks until September 20th.
For many renters (who owe less than 6 months’ rent) it also meant they would be given a 6-month notice period if they were evicted by their landlord, a law that will remain in place until at least the end of March next year.
Originally, the evictions ban was introduced in March as a result of millions of people adjusting to the financial impact of the coronavirus lockdown.
The ban was set to be lifted on June 25th but, instead, was extended until August 23rd, before the new date was introduced.
The ban ended on September 21st meaning that landlords can now start eviction proceedings if required.
Who was affected by the tenancy eviction ban?
The tenancy eviction ban applied to anyone legally renting a home in England and Wales. While it prevented them from being evicted for a certain period of time, it did not alleviate their responsibility to continue to pay outstanding rent.
According to housing charity Shelter, there are almost 450,000 people in private rental accommodation currently dealing with rent arrears of some kind. They estimate almost half of this number have fallen into debt since the pandemic began.
Shelter also say that despite the ban, 174,000 private tenants had still been threatened with eviction from their homes.
What does the end of the eviction ban mean for tenants and landlords?
With the ban now lifted, at their own discretion, landlords are now able to start proceedings to evict tenants who are behind on their rent.
From August 29th, if tenants owe more than 6 months’ rent they can be issued with a minimum four weeks eviction notice.
If the amount of overdue rent is less than 6 months, they must be given 6 months’ notice to leave the property.
When eviction hearings restart, the courts will prioritise the most serious cases involving anti-social behaviour and other crimes and where rent has not been paid for over 12 months.
For tenants, the end of the eviction ban means that:
- You can only be evicted when issued with either a Section 21 or Section 8 with a fixed date – the landlord must also give you a warning period
- The landlord must receive a possession order if you stay beyond the agreed date
- A warrant of possession can be issued if you do not leave on time, which could mean eviction by a bailiff
- If the correct procedures haven’t been followed the order could be challenged if the tenant has been discriminated against
Will I be evicted if I can’t pay my rent?
If you are experiencing financial difficulty and have fallen behind on rent, it is important to talk to your landlord to find agreement on a repayment plan.
Repayment plans will differ from case-to-case, depending on your financial status and that of the landlord. It may feel like a difficult discussion to have, but it will be more beneficial to be open about what you can and cannot afford, rather than avoiding it and potentially creating a more stressful situation at a later date.
You may also be eligible for government benefits, so it is worth checking the government calculator which will let you know if you can apply and how to do so.