Last updated: 12th March 2021
The Government has again extended the evictions ban, and it will remain unlawful to evict most residential tenants until 31st May 2021 at the earliest.
The new extension replaces the current ban which was scheduled to end at the end of March. It is not yet clear whether any further extensions are likely as the official Government announcement makes clear that the ban runs until “at least” 31st May 2021.
The Regulations state that it is unlawful to attend a residential property to either carry out an eviction or give notice of an eviction unless specific exceptional circumstances applies. These exceptional circumstances include substantial rent arrears. For much of 2020, rent arrears accrued since March 2020 had been excluded but the definition was changed in January so that outstanding rent arrears are now defined as 6 months unpaid rent.
Exceptional circumstances also include anti-social behaviour and several other limited reasons and there is no change in the latest announcement.
The Regulations apply only to evictions. Other aspects of the possession procedure, such as Court proceedings to get a possession order continue. However the temporary changes to the Court process that were introduced in Autumn 2020 have also been extended until at least the end of July 2021, along with the six month notice periods for both Section 8 and Section 21 orders in the vast majority of circumstances.
Landlords who may consider circumventing the evictions ban, would be acting unlawfully and would place themselves at risk of a claim being made against them by their tenants for unlawful eviction. They may also be committing a criminal offence.
Despite the ban, there is no general prohibition on moving home, which is still permitted under current lockdown regulations. A tenant can therefore lawfully leave a rental property of their own accord through a voluntary surrender of tenancy without either party being in breach of the Regulations.
The change only applies to England, there is currently no announced extension to the bans in Scotland & Wales which are still due to expire on 31st March 2021. However, it is foreseeable that the devolved governments will announce their own extensions before the end of March.
If you are a landlord looking to obtain possession, our Dispute Resolution Solicitor, Chris Miller, would be pleased to advise you. We offer a £95 fixed fee meeting to provide initial advice on your options. For more information, or to book a meeting, please contact us on 01189589711 or e-mail [email protected].
Keep Up-to-Date with Changes to the Law
Know your rights and keep up to date with changes to COVID law – sign up for our monthly legal newsletter.
Enter your email address below to start receiving our monthly legal bulletin.
Get in Touch
Chris Miller works alongside Justin Sadler in the Litigation Department on a wide range of civil litigation matters including Debt Collection and possession claims, as well as assisting with contentious probate matters.