Government extends eviction ban once more, until 31st May

The Coronavirus pandemic continues to exert its effect on the lettings industry.

In a Nutshell

Bailiff enforced evictions extended in England until 31 May 2021

Current 6 months’ notice periods extended until at least 31 May 2021 except in the following circumstances:

– Anti-social behaviour (four weeks’ notice)

– False statements provided by the tenant (two to four weeks’ notice)

– Over 6 months’ accumulated rent arrears (four weeks’ notice)

– Breach of immigration rules under the ‘Right to Rent’ policy (three months’ notice)

As well as an extension to the bailiff ban, landlords and letting agents will also still have to give six months’ notice of their intention to evict. Scotland and Wales introduced similar measures banning eviction orders until 31 March 2021 – though these may be extended further still – while in Northern Ireland, landlords need to give 12 weeks’ notice before eviction.

What does this mean for you as a landlord?

Tenants who were served with evictions notices late in May won’t face physical eviction until at least November. For 50% of the sector, of whom only own one property, it is a tough situation and a rocky road ahead. The courts are inundated so it is vital you follow all pre-action protocol advice before taking action through the courts. All avenues to reach an agreement should be exhausted before seeking repossession, whether it be through reduced rent or short term payment plans.

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As the pandemic has shown, circumstances can change. Your tenant could suddenly lose a job or fall ill. If they don’t have reserves of cash to call on, it’s highly likely that your rent payment may not arrive. Perhaps you can stand it for a week or two, but what if it drags on and the situation fails to improve? It’s your income that’s affected. Your mortgage payments on the property, your bills and you still need to keep the wolf from your own front door. Rent protection insurance can really help. Even though there are some things you can’t control, they don’t have to ruin your finances.

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