In March 2020, the Government announced a three-month ban on evictions to protect renters in social or private accommodation from being forced out of their homes during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This ban, which was due to end on 25 June 2020, has now been extended by two months to 23 August 2020.
Landlords who were seeking to evict tenants for non-payment of rent at the end of this month will continue to have their hands tied for the time being. However, it is important to remember that tenants are still liable for rent during this period.
The Government has suggested that where tenants are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the parties should work together to exhaust all possible options (eg flexible payment plans to take into account individual circumstances before resorting to the courts).
In the meantime, a working group has been formed to consider relevant matters for when the current stay on possession proceedings is lifted, including the preparation of the courts for the lifting of the stay and how best to support the parties in litigation.
It remains to be seen whether the Government will put in place further protections for tenants who have racked up rent arrears to prevent a flurry of eviction proceedings once the ban has been lifted.
The above reflects guidance as at 8 June 2020. We will continue to update this as the situation develops. While we aim to release updates as quickly as possible, it is important that readers check the latest Government advice for further updates.