Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced an extension to legal protections for private tenants in the UK for an additional four weeks. The requirement for landlords to provide six-month eviction notice periods – introduced to protect tenants affected by the COVID-19 crisis – will now continue until March 31, 2021, at the earliest.
This means that private tenants affected by coronavirus will continue to benefit from government protections until the spring of 2021, though the restrictions could be extended further still. In addition, the government has also confirmed its intent to provide tenants with additional protection from eviction during the winter months, by requiring landlords to provide a minimum of six months’ notice in all instances barring those considered urgent in nature.
For example, cases involving domestic abuse perpetrators or antisocial behaviour will be exempt from the restrictions. As will instances where a landlord has not received a rent payment within the last year and is facing unmanageable financial hardships as a result.
A Successful Pro-Tenant Initiative
The unprecedented action taken by the government to support private tenants during the COVID-19 appears to have proven extremely effective. By helping businesses pay salaries and preventing those in financial hardship being evicted from their homes, there have been no disputed private evictions at all since the beginning of the pandemic.
“I know this year has been challenging and all of us are still living with the effects of COVID-19. That is why today I am announcing a further 4 week ban on evictions, meaning no renters will have been evicted for 6 months,” Commented Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.
“I am also increasing protections for renters – 6-month notice periods must be given to tenants, supporting renters over winter,”
“However, it is right that the most egregious cases, for example those involving anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse perpetrators, begin to be heard in court again; and so when courts reopen, landlords will once again be able to progress these priority cases.”
Landlords’ Empathy and Compassion Praised
In addition, research suggests that close to 90% of all private tenants have kept up with their rent payments throughout the crisis, while at least 8% have negotiated reduced fees and costs with their landlords. The vast majority of landlords have also been praised by demonstrating flexibility, empathy and understanding during these challenging times.
The Housing Secretary’s announcement of an extension to private tenant protections reflects the government’s concerns regarding the ongoing threat (economic and otherwise) posed by COVID-19. It is widely expected that the UK will be forced to contend with both the virus and its knock-on effects for some time, calling for greater and more continuous protections for those facing financial hardship.
However, it is important to note that the four-week extension to the six-month minimum notice currently applies in England only. Similar protections for the extended period until March 31, 2021, have not yet been announced for Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
For more information on any of the above or to discuss your tenancy agreement, book your obligation-free initial consultation with Aristone Solicitors today.