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Ministry extends ban on bailiff-enforced evictions

The Government has extended the ban on bailiff-enforced evictions in all but the most serious circumstances and the requirement for landlords to provide six-month notice periods to residential tenants before they evict until at least 31 May.

For claims issued before 3 August 2020 the service of a reactivation notice has been extended to 30 April 2021.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said the extension on residential evictions would “ensure residents in both the private and social sector can stay in their homes and have enough time to find alternative accommodation or support as we move through the roadmap”.

It also announced that the ban on commercial evictions would be extended for a further three months as well.

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Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “It is right that as we move through the roadmap, we ensure that businesses and renters continue to be supported.

“We have taken unprecedented action to support both commercial and residential tenants throughout the pandemic – with a £280 billion economic package to keep businesses running and people in jobs and able to meet their outgoings, such as rent.

“These measures build on the government’s action to provide financial support as restrictions are lifted over the coming months – extending the furlough scheme, business rates holiday and the Universal Credit uplift.”

The MHCLG said the government would consider the best approach to move away from emergency protections from the beginning of June, “taking into account public health advice and the wider roadmap”.

On the commercial side it is launching a call for evidence on commercial rents to help monitor the overall progress of negotiations between tenants and landlords. The call for evidence will also set out potential steps that government could take after 30 June, ranging from a phased withdrawal of current protections to legislative options targeted at those businesses most impacted by COVID-19.

Responding to the further extension of the ban on bailiff enforcement action and the six-month notice period for evictions, Cllr David Renard, Local Government Association housing spokesperson, said: “We are pleased the Government will further extend the ban on bailiff enforcement action. These are very challenging times for many tenants who are struggling to pay their rent and this will provide reassurance that renters can remain in their homes. Not only will this avoid causing major disruption for households, but it will help reduce the pressure on council homelessness services.

“As we come out of the pandemic, we are keen to work with government on a long-term plan to give renters the safeguards and protections they need to help them stay in their homes, in as many cases as possible."

Cllr Renard added: “Going forward, there remains a need for a renewed focus on investing in homelessness prevention services.

“This should include ensuring councils have the resources to support households at risk of homelessness, including restoration of welfare funding to at least £250 million a year and a review of the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme. It is also vital councils are given the ability to invest in building much-needed social housing, through the reform of Right to Buy.”

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