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Government announces another extension to evictions ban

Friday 21 August 2020

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has confirmed that it is to extend the ban in England on evictions to 20 September and will also introduce six-month long notice periods that will run until 31 March 2021.

The ban in, which was announced in March because of the Coronavirus pandemic, is currently due to end of 23 August, with some cases due to be heard on Monday 24 August at the newly approved Nightingale courts. It has also been confirmed that once the courts do re-open, only serious cases including those involving anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse will be prioritised.

The further four-week extension, due to end on 20 September, applying in England, will allow for further work to be done to prepare before the ban is lifted and mean that landlords will continue to be unable to start proceedings to evict tenants.

Agents and landlords should continue to work with tenants who are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic and look at all possible options – such as flexible payment plans which take into account a tenant’s individual circumstances – to ensure cases only end up in court as an absolute last resort.

Government announcement 

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Now that the ban on evictions has been extended, the Government must use this time to introduce further guidance and prepare the sector. It is important to take steps back towards normality so that both landlords and tenants have access to the justice system while putting measures in place to offer further support to tenants who have built up COVID-related arrears and this four-week extension will give Government the time to introduce such measures.

Additionally, given the backlog of cases already facing courts, it’s key that the government introduces sufficient guidance during this period to enable eviction proceedings to begin again smoothly and fairly when the ban is lifted.

Timothy Douglas, Policy and Campaigns Manager, ARLA Propertymark