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Whatever it takes to support tenants and landlords

Wednesday 18 March 2020

Amid mounting public pressure on sick pay and rent, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson today announced his intention to legislate to support tenants who are struggling to pay rent as a result of Coronavirus.

Our current understanding is that this means there will be a ban on new eviction proceedings for the next three months.

The announcement came at Prime Minister’s Questions in The House of Commons, in response to questions put forward by both Leader of the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn and Siobhain McDonagh Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden.

Corbyn asked Johnson “if he would confirm that the Government’s emergency legislation will protect private renters from eviction.”

McDonagh reiterated Corbyn’s concerns and said: “Apart from rent arrears, eviction from a private tenancy, a section 21 no-fault eviction, is the biggest reason for homelessness.”

She went on to ask the Prime Minister “to ask the courts to stop section 21 evictions to take the pressure off hard press councils and these really worried families.”

The Prime Minister responded to say: "We will indeed be bringing forward legislation to address the point that has been raised.” He did not give details of the measures or the timing but did agree with Corbyn when he said the measure should be taken in the next 48 hours.

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We agree that the Government must do 'whatever it takes' to safeguard tenants in these unprecedented times. We, of course, have to support tenants as they face uncertainty over the coming months, while as the Prime Minister has said, ensuring we don’t simply pass on the problem to other actors in the economy.

David Cox, ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive

Emergency legislation to provide support on Coronavirus will be published tomorrow 19 March and Parliament will deal with it on Monday. The legislation will be time-limited – for two years – and not all of these measures will come into force immediately. The bill allows the four UK governments to switch on these new powers when they are needed, and, crucially, to switch them off again once they are no longer necessary, based on the advice of Chief Medical Officers of the four nations.

The Government has stressed the measures in the coronavirus bill are temporary, proportionate to the threat we face, will only be used when strictly necessary and be in place for as long as required to respond to the situation.

HAVE YOUR VIEWS HEARD

Propertymark urges members to come forward with points they wish to be factored and raised with Government on the ban of eviction proceedings. Responses need to be given by close of play today, 18 March, in order to bring forward to Government prior to emergency legislation.

Email your thoughts to policy@propertymark.co.uk

WHAT PROPERTYMARK IS DOING

Propertymark has been in dialogue with the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) today and in recent weeks and will continue to highlight the need to support letting agents and landlords and the impact on their mortgage payments, business rates, and management practices.