Latest News

Clarity provided for agents in North of England

03 August 2020

On the evening of Thursday 30 July, the UK Government announced a tightening on restrictions for some areas within the North of England in order to protect against the risks to public health arising from Coronavirus. Read More...

Ten new courts unveiled to tackle evictions proceedings backlog

30 July 2020

The Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland announced on 19 July 2020 the locations for ten ‘Nightingale Courts’ which have been rapidly set up with the aim of tackling the impact of Coronavirus on the justice system. Read More...

Demand from tenants and rental supply highest on record for June

30 July 2020

ARLA Propertymark’s Private Rented Sector (PRS) June report saw the number of new prospective tenants continue to rise, following the Government’s COVID-19 lockdown, with the average branch registering 79 new tenants, compared to 70 on average in May. Read More...

Guidance released for re-opening of housing market in Wales

28 July 2020

Today, 28 July, the Welsh Government has released guidance for the property sector and has updated its amendments to the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations in light of the re-opening of the housing market from 27 July. Read More...

Government lays out plans for regaining possession from 23 August

Wednesday 22 July 2020

In response to an urgent question by Shadow Housing Secretary Thangam Debbonaire, Housing Minister, Chris Pincher MP has today said that an end to the pause on possession proceedings on 23 August is an important step towards the resumption of normal life and allowing landlords and tenants access to justice.

Conscious that the sector is raising significant concerns about a backlog in the Courts, he reminded the House of Commons that prioritising cases is the job of the judiciary, but he believes it is important that serious and antisocial cases are heard in the Courts as soon as possible.

He said that the Government has been engaging with a working group convened by the Master of the Rolls which includes both tenant representatives and landlord bodies. An early outcome of their work is changes to the court rules of possession proceedings.

These rules will apply within the existing legislative framework from 23 August.

At the end of June, ARLA Propertymark wrote to the Secretary of State for Justice expressing concerns for the management of housing possession cases in England and Wales when the current stay on possessions is lifted and that a robust and co-ordinated strategy must be developed as a matter of urgency.

Propertymark's concerns

Three months' notice until at least 30 September

Landlords seeking possession will need to set out relevant information about a tenant’s circumstances including information about the effect of the pandemic. This is designed to encourage landlords to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on the tenants’ circumstances, prior to seeking possession.

The Government voiced their encouragement for rent repayment plans and for rent payment flexibility. The Minister stated that current arrangements requiring landlords to give at least 3 months’ notice of their intention to seek possession, will continue until at least 30 September, in line with the measures set out in the Coronavirus Act 2020.

Renters have been provided with unprecedented financial support during the pandemic and these arrangements are in addition to the Job Retention Scheme, additional funding to boost the welfare safety net, and raising the Local Housing Allowance rate to the 30th percentile.

Longer-term

The Government re-stated that they are committed to bringing forward both reforms designed to increase the security that tenants need and measures to strengthen the rights of landlords to regain their property when they need to do so. The legislation will be brought forward in due course.

PROPERTYMARK RESOURCES

Members can download our Evictions Under the Coronavirus fact sheet which outlines the changes, what it means for agents, and the impact.

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