16:33 PM, 12th May 2021, About a month ago 6
Renters will continue to be supported as national COVID-19 restrictions ease, with longer notice periods in place until at least October, Housing Minister Christopher Pincher announced.
As part of a phased approach, notice periods – previously extended to 6 months as an emergency measure during the pandemic – will be set at four months from 1 June. This will offer tenants continued protection throughout Step 3 and into Step 4, which will begin from 21 June at the earliest.
Subject to the public health advice and progress with the Roadmap, notice periods will return to pre-pandemic levels from 1 October.
The current ban on bailiff-enforced evictions, introduced as an emergency measure during lockdown, will end on 31 May. Bailiffs have been asked not to carry out an eviction if anyone living in the property has COVID-19 symptoms or is self-isolating.
The measures will ensure renters continue to be protected with longer notice periods for the coming months, while allowing landlords to access justice – 45% of private landlords own just one property and are highly vulnerable to rent arrears.
Extensive financial support remains in place to help people meet their outgoings, including the furlough scheme and the Universal Credit uplift, which have both been extended until the end of September.
Housing Minister, Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said: “From the beginning of the pandemic, we have taken unprecedented action to protect renters and help keep them in their homes.
“As COVID restrictions are eased in line with the Roadmap out of lockdown, we will ensure tenants continue to be supported with longer notice periods, while also balancing the need for landlords to access justice.
“Crucial financial support also remains in place including the furlough scheme and uplift to Universal Credit.”
Courts will continue to prioritise the most serious cases, such as those involving fraud or anti-social behaviour, with many of the evictions waiting to be enforced when the ban lifts predating the pandemic.
This week the government announced that a White Paper will be published in the autumn that will set out proposals to create a fairer private rented sector that works for both landlords and tenants.
This includes proposals for the abolition of Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions to give tenants greater security and a new ‘lifetime deposit’ to ease the burden when moving house.
From 1 June, notice periods that are currently 6 months will reduce to at least 4 months. Notice periods for the most serious cases that present the most strain on landlords will remain lower:
Notice periods for cases where there is four or more months’ of unpaid rent, will reduce to 2 months’ notice from 1 August. This is to support both landlords and tenants and responds to the greater difference between COVID and pre COVID notice periods for rent arrears.
Renters will continue to be supported with living costs, including rent, through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until 30 September 2021.
Local Housing Allowance rates are being maintained at their increased level in cash terms, and the government has also extended the £20 per week uplift in Universal Credit until the end of September.
For those who require additional support, we have made £140 million in Discretionary Housing Payments funding available for local authorities this financial year.
14 days’ notice is required before an eviction can take place. Therefore, no evictions are expected to take place before mid-June except in the most serious circumstances, and bailiffs have been asked not to carry out an eviction if they have been made aware that anyone living in the property has COVID-19 symptoms or is self-isolating.
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