Three-month eviction ban coming to protect renters from COVID-19 disruption

The Government’s emergency legislation will ensure that “renters will not be forced from their homes”, says Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick

Emergency legislation will be pushed through to ban evictions for three months as the Government reacted to calls from campaigners to protect renters.

With loss of private rental home a leading cause of homelessness, there had been fears that renters who lose earnings through the coronavirus crisis would face eviction if they cannot keep up with rent payments.

But the Government announced this evening that no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out in the next three months with the three-month mortgage payment holiday that has already been announced ensuring that landlords are also not out of pocket.

Court proceedings against renters are also on hold with no new possession proceedings to begin during the crisis.

The government will also issue guidance which asks landlords to show compassion and to allow tenants who are affected by this to remain in their homes wherever possible. The National Housing Federation and Local Government Association have welcomed the new support for social renters and made clear that no one should be evicted because of the coronavirus.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “The government is clear – no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts.

“These are extraordinary times and renters and landlords alike are of course worried about paying their rent and mortgage. Which is why we are urgently introducing emergency legislation to protect tenants in social and private accommodation from an eviction process being started.

“These changes will protect all renters and private landlords ensuring everyone gets the support they need at this very difficult time.”

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Ahead of the ban, housing charity Shelter released estimates that suggested more than 50,000 households could have been facing eviction through the courts over the next six months, a figure which may have risen dramatically with the fall-out of the pandemic and any resulting economic crash.

Polly Neate, chief executive at Shelter, said: “News the government is to legislate to protect renters from being evicted from their homes during the coronavirus crisis, will come as a great relief to many people. Without this decisive action tens of thousands of renters would have faced with eviction in the coming months, while potentially trying to isolate and protect themselves and others.

“At Shelter we’d already heard horror stories from terrified renters threatened with eviction by irresponsible landlords, including vital NHS workers. Now this shocking behaviour will be stopped in its tracks.

“The government has done the right thing. There are 20 million renters in England who will benefit from this protection – which is a vital emergency measure to keep people safe and in their homes.”