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Emergency legislation to prevent start of possession proceedings for three-month period

Emergency legislation will suspend new evictions from social or private rented accommodation while the national emergency over Covid-19 is taking place, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has announced.

The MHCLG said landlords would not be able to start new possession proceedings through applications to the court for at least a three-month period.

It was also confirmed that the three-month mortgage payment holiday will also be extended to Buy to Let mortgages.

The MHCLG said: “At the end of this period, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances.”

To support this announcement the government has worked with the Master of the Rolls to widen the ‘pre-action protocol’ on possession proceedings, to include private renters and to strengthen its remit.

“This will support the necessary engagement between landlords and tenants to resolve disputes and landlords will have to reach out to tenants to understand the financial position they are in,” the Ministry said.

The government will also issue guidance which asks landlords “to show compassion and to allow tenants who are affected by this to remain in their homes wherever possible”.

The National Housing Federation and the Local Government Association have welcomed the new support for social renters and made clear that no one should be evicted because of the coronavirus.

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, said: “The government is clear – no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts.

“These are extraordinary times and renters and landlords alike are of course worried about paying their rent and mortgage. Which is why we are urgently introducing emergency legislation to protect tenants in social and private accommodation from an eviction process being started.

“These changes will protect all renters and private landlords ensuring everyone gets the support they need at this very difficult time.”

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