The NRLA was referenced several times by the Housing Minister Christopher Pincher MP in the Commons when discussing the end to the ban on repossessions next month.
Shadow Housing Secretary Thangam Debbonaire MP (Labour) tabled an urgent question asking the Housing Minister to make a statement on the implications of the end of the ban, which is due to end on 23rd August.
Tenants’ groups had also written a letter to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, recommending that plans to end Section 21 evictions must be accelerated, as well as urging temporary changes to ground 8 to give courts discretion to suspend a possession order in cases where arrears have built up, to protect tenants.
However, Housing Minister, Christopher Pincher told the Commons that the evidence he has shows landlords are working proactively to support tenants at the moment, referencing the NRLA.
He said the government is working to provide ‘appropriate support’ to those who have been particularly affected by coronavirus when possession proceedings start again, and later on shared he doesn’t think a ‘tsunami’ of evictions is likely when the courts can begin to hear possession cases again.
The Minister highlighted landlords will need to follow ‘strict procedures’ if they want to gain possession of their property when the eviction ban comes to an end next month- adding they need to give at least three months notice of their intention to seek possession.
Mr Pincher was referring to new civil procedure rules announced last week, which will require landlords to confirm they wish to make or continue with a claim by filling in a reactivation notice and sending it to the court and the tenants and must take into account how tenants’ circumstances have been affected by coronavirus.
The Minister again referenced the NRLA when speaking about the new rules, saying that “the right balance has been struck between tenants’ needs and landlords’ rights” (see reference below).
Research for NRLA
Responding to a question from Barbara Keeley MP (Labour, Worlsey and Eccles South) on whether the eviction ban will be extended so that legal changes can be addressed in September, Mr Pincher cited conversations and research from the NRLA, showing that most tenants have been able to pay rent as normal during the pandemic.
He added of those that have not been able to pay rent, evidence shows they feel they have had a positive response from their landlords to ensure they have more flexible repayment options.
Mr Pincher was later asked by Marco Longhi (Conservative, Dudley North) about whether he can assure the House he will do everything he can to encourage landlords and tenants, who may be experiencing financial difficulties, to come together to work out flexible solutions.
Responding to this Mr Pincher said he can give that assurance, referencing that he had had conversations with the NRLA about this.
Renters Reform Bill will be introduced “when it is appropriate to do so”
Bob Blackman MP asked the Housing Minister a question on whether the government will consider look at emergency legislation to prevent ‘unnecessary evictions’ when it comes to cases involving rent arrears.
The Housing Minister said “We will bring forward the Renters Reform Bill which will be the biggest rent change in a generation at a time when it is appropriate to do so, in the meantime we will continue to support tenants and landlords”.
- The NRLA has joined forces with a number of organisations across the housing sector to develop guidance on practical ways landlords and tenants can work together to address rent arrears that might be building as a result of the pandemic.
- The NRLA has a five-point plan to help support the private rented sector, which includes calling for the courts to prioritise possession cases involving anti-social behaviour or rent arrears built up before the pandemic and have nothing to do with coronavirus, causing some landlords financial hardship.