End of eviction ban sparks calls for more tenant support

End of eviction ban sparks calls for more tenant support

 

The ban, which stayed in place until Monday 31 May, was introduced in March last year to safeguard individuals who were financially struggling due to the pandemic. Minimum notice periods for renters were also extended from four months to six months.

But from today evictions can be enforced by bailiffs and landlords can give four months’ notice to renters. This will then go down to two months from 1 October.

There are growing concerns that the lifting of the ban could led to a spike in evictions as tenants may have garnered significant arrears during the pandemic.

Last week Citizens Advice reported that there had been 6,556 enquiries about evictions from private rental tenants in the first four months of the year, up 17 per cent compared to last year.

The charity also said that the average amount of arrears had increased by nearly a quarter over the past few months to £907 in April.

Former RICS residential chairman and north London estate agent Jeremy Leaf explained that currently landlords can use Section 21, or no-fault evictions, or Section 8 notice for possession where renters have damaged the property or not paid to evict tenants.

Both usually require at least two months’ notice and confirmation that correct procedures have been followed.

Bailiffs are the only people who can evict tenants, but they cannot evict tenants or anyone else living at the property if they have Covid-19 symptoms, tested positive or been told to self-isolate.

Tenants can also apply to local council for help if they are homeless or set to become homeless within eight weeks.

Leaf said: “Although mediation, which is currently subject to government consultation, is one way of reducing the present backlog by improving the chances of agreement without a full court hearing, speedy and effective repossession will always be necessary.

“Landlord and tenant representatives want the government to provide financial support to tenants in serious arrears due to Covid and more clarity on scrapping section 21 evictions after saying they would end but without setting a date,” he added.