Landlords could be left for five months without rent and anti-social tenants allowed terrorise neighbours after the government announced an extension to its eviction ban.
The ban, introduced by the government in response to the Covid-19 pandemic has now been extended by two months following an announcement late this afternoon.
Housing minister Robert Jenrick said the suspension of evictions from both private rented accommodation and the social sector will be extended by two months until August 23.
He also announced new court rules, which he said ‘will ensure vulnerable renters are protected when the suspension of evictions ends’
The NRLA says the decision could force some landlords out of the sector.
Ben Beadle, NRLA Chief Executive said: “This decision means that some landlords will now be facing five months without receiving any rent as they can take no action against tenants who were not paying before the lockdown started.
“It also means more misery for tenants and neighbours suffering at the hands of anti-social tenants and will also cause exceptional hardship for a number of landlords, including many who depend on their rental income to live, for which there is no assistance.
“We have every sympathy with tenants who face genuine difficulties because of a loss of income due to the coronavirus crisis and as our survey out tomorrow shows, nearly all landlords are working with tenants who are struggling to keep them in their home.
“It is important the Government sets out its plans for the market at the end of this one-time extension.
“A failure to do so will cause serious damage to the private rented sector as a whole. It will ultimately be tenants who suffer as they will find it increasingly difficult to find affordable housing if landlords do not have the confidence that they will get their properties back swiftly in legitimate circumstances.”
The government has reiterated that where tenants do experience financial difficulties as a result of the coronavirus pandemic landlords and tenants should work together and exhaust all possible options – such as flexible payment plans which take into account a tenant’s individual circumstances – to ensure cases only end up in court as an ‘absolute last resort’.
Research from the NRLA shows that landlords are already supporting tenants where they can, with 90% of landlord approached for help by their tenants able to provide it.
Announcing the extension Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP 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.
The two-month extension will come into force on 25 June, ensuring there’s no gap between the existing ban and the extension, and also applies to home-owners, commercial and leasehold and apply to England and Wales.
The government said guidance for landlords and renters is in the process of being updated to reflect the changes