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News: Tenant evictions will not be enforced in areas subject to local lockdowns

Tue, 15 Sep 20

Many renters have welcomed the government's latest announcement around protecting tenants from eviction over the winter period, but tenants and landlords should continue to work together in what is a difficult time for everybody, according to Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley. 

The government has confirmed that court proceedings for evictions in England and Wales will restart on 21 September after being suspended for six months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

However, under fresh measures announced last Thursday, evictions will not be enforced by bailiffs if a local area is in lockdown that includes restrictions on gathering in residential properties. 

Bailiffs will also be told that they should not enforce possession orders over the festive period, other than in serious circumstances, such as cases involving domestic abuse or antisocial behaviour.

The government has not yet confirmed which dates the so-called ‘winter truce’ will cover for tenants in England and Wales.

The new measures are aimed at ensuring potentially vulnerable tenants are not forced out of their homes during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Bowring commented: “There’s no doubt that thousands of renters that are suffering financial difficulty will be happy to hear the news from the government around the winter period and will now feel more secure in their homes.

“With all of the uncertainty going on at the moment, tenants deserve to be protected by the government from evictions that could be through no fault of their own, and could well be down to financial hardship brought on by being furloughed or losing their job altogether.

“However, it should be noted as recent research by the National Residential Landlords Association pointed out that the majority of landlords are trying to work with their tenants to resolve any issues such as rent arrears.

“Tenants and landlords should be working together in what is a difficult time for everybody, and should not use the eviction ban as an excuse to mistreat the property they live in or withhold rent if they are not in a genuinely financially difficult situation.

“Some renters may need more financial assistance from the government but cancelling rents or getting the government to pay would be hugely damaging.”

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