Eviction ban extended in England and Wales until at least 21 February 2021
Bailiff-enforced evictions for private renters have been banned until “at least” 21 February in England and Wales.
England entered a full lockdown since 5 January, while Wales has been under tier 4 lockdown rules since 20 December as both nations grapple with a huge spike in coronavirus cases.
The current ban will be reviewed on 21 February, according to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.
Landlords and letting agents can now serve possession notices on all tenants who are in six months of rent arrears. Previously, only tenants who have accrued rent from before the March 23 Covid lockdown could have an order served against them.
But while these cases can go to court, they cannot be enforced by bailiffs.
Bailiff-enforced evictions can still take place in “exceptional” circumstances, including domestic violence and anti-social behaviour.
Anti-eviction campaigners say the new ban does not go far enough and concerns have been raised that the tenants who have lost their job or had their income squeezed because of the Covid pandemic could lose their homes due to the six-month loophole.
Scotland extended its ban to last until late March.
The government also announced a new mediation pilot as “part of the possession process” in order to help landlords and tenants “reach a mutual agreement and keep people in their homes”.
A statement from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said in a statement: “Helping to resolve disputes through mediation will enable courts to prioritise urgent cases, supporting landlords and tenants to resolve issues quickly without the need for a formal hearing. The mediation pilot will work within the existing court arrangements in England and Wales.”