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Tenants with ‘extreme arrears’ exempt from new enforcement rules

Wednesday 18 November 2020

On 17 November 2020, the Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force in England.

The rules prevent the enforcement of evictions against tenants, other than in the most serious circumstances during the second national local down period and over Christmas. This means that no eviction notices are to be served until 11 January at the earliest and, given the 14-day notice period required, no evictions are expected to be enforced until 25 January 2021.

The most serious circumstances include:

  • illegal occupation
  • false statement
  • anti-social behaviour
  • where a property is unoccupied following the death of a tenant
  • Extreme rent arrears

Importantly, following the UK Government’s announcement on 5 November 2020 where it was stated they would look to introduce an exemption for extreme pre-COVID rent arrears, the Regulations now confirm that landlords will be able to seek possession of their property and see bailiffs and High Court Enforcement Officers enforcing warrants and completing evictions. However, this will only apply to tenants who have accrued the equivalent of nine months’ rent arrears, with arrears accrued since 23 March (the start of England’s first lockdown) discounted.

The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020

UK Government guidance

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