Ban on Evictions Set to End on 23 August 2020
On 01 July 2020 Parliament confirmed the current suspension of evictions will end on 23 August 2020 and the courts will start hearing possession claims on 24 August 2020.
This will be a relief to many landlords who are waiting to enforce possession orders already obtained prior to the suspension on possession claims as well as all of the cases already issued, but not yet heard by the courts.
There is an estimated 5,700 possession claims ‘in limbo’ that were granted hearings just before the ban, and an estimated 60,000 new eviction notices that have been issued during the lockdown.
Lord Greenhalgh confirmed on 01 July 2020:
“From 24 August 2020, the courts will begin to process possession cases again. This is an important step towards ending the lockdown and will protect landlords’ important right to regain their property.
Work is underway with the judiciary, legal representatives and the advice sector on arrangements, including new rules, to ensure that judges have all the information necessary to make just decisions and that the most vulnerable tenants can get the help they need when possession cases resume.”
The final paragraph of Lord Greenhalgh relates to the Governments’ plan to require private landlords to adhere to the same rules as social landlords before issuing possession proceedings. This means that landlords will be required to engage in more communication with their tenants in an attempt to resolve issues such as rent arrears before proceeding to court.
The Government confirmed that the plans will ensure that private sector landlords reach out to tenants to understand the financial position they are in before taking possession action through the courts.
Does this announcement mean that as of 24 August 2020 landlords can serve less than 3 months’ notice? – No, the Coronavirus Act 2020 has extended the notice period under Section 8 and 21 Notices to 3 months’ and this will continue to be in force until 30 September 2020 as confirmed in Schedule 20 to the Coronavirus Act 2020.
Mr Sasha Charles of Landlord Advice UK stated:
“This announcement provides the certainty and relief that landlords have been waiting for through these unprecedented times. We continue to assist landlords and ensure landlords are kept up to date with the ongoing changes. We are also working with the British Landlords Association in calling for priority to be given to claims issued before and during the lockdown”.