Posted in November 2020
As England is soon to emerge from a second national COVID-19 lockdown and about to revert back to the regional tier systems on 2nd December, the government has confirmed that renters will be protected during these restrictions and that no bailiff enforcement actions will be taking place in the short-term.
There will be a ‘winter truce’ on the enforcement of evictions, with none permitted in England and Wales in the run up to and over Christmas except in the most serious circumstances, such as cases involving anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse. This will ensure vulnerable tenants are not forced from their homes at a time when public and local authorities may be dealing with the usual level of increased demand for services during this time. To achieve this, guidance will be issued to bailiffs that they should not enforce possession orders in the weeks over the Christmas holiday period. Therefore, evictions by bailiffs will not be enforced until 11th January 2021 at the earliest (aside from exceptionally serious cases of anti-social behaviour as outlined above).
This government request not to enforce court orders against tenants in Tier 2 (high) and Tier 3 (very high) locations, was already agreed by bailiffs last month.
“We are now going further by protecting renters from eviction during the new national restrictions and throughout the Christmas period – with a pause on bailiff activity other than in the most serious circumstances, such as anti-social behaviour or fraud.
“Striking the right balance between helping tenants in need while ensuring landlords have access to justice in the most serious cases.”
Fresh guidance has been issued by the government for landlords and tenants that agents will find useful.
The non-statutory guidance provides greater clarity on matters relating to notices seeking possession as amended by the Coronavirus Act 2020, along with health and safety obligations, including repairs and inspections in the context of COVID-19.
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