To protect against Coronavirus transmission, the Government has passed The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020 (‘the Regulations’).
This legislation introduces yet another new temporary ban on tenant eviction albeit with limited exemptions.
This latest move to restrict eviction only which applies to England.
What does The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020 (‘the Regulations’) mean for landlords?
Eviction notices cannot be served on residential tenants nor can bailiffs execute warrants of possession of land from the 17th November 2020 until 11th January 2021.
As we know too well if the COVID-19 pandemic is not contained to a reasonable level below the R 1 the restriction on eviction may be extended beyond 11th January 2021.
However, under the Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020 (‘the Regulations’) the following exemption applies:
- To evict occupants where ‘substantial’ rent arrears have accrued. The arrears must equate to 9 months’ rent arrears and must have accrued before the 23rd March 2020,
- To evict trespassers,
- To evict occupants on the grounds of anti-social behaviour,
- To evict occupants on the grounds of nuisance or domestic abuse or false statements,
- Where a property is unoccupied following the death of a tenant.
In England, you cannot evict a residential tenant, unless an exemption applies, no evictions are expected to be enforced until 25th January 2021 at the earliest.
This does not affect any eviction notices served or possession claims issued before this ban. However, this does mean possession orders made cannot be enforced by a bailiff until after 11th January 2021 unless any of the above exemptions apply.
Seizing Goods, The Regulations also introduced a temporary ban on bailiffs attending residential properties to execute a warrant of control (to seize the tenant’s goods to be sold to recover arrears) from 17th November 2020 until the national restrictions are due to be lifted.
Application – Interestingly, these new regulations do not define ‘residential tenancies’ or ‘notice of eviction’. It would seem they have been introduced and passed by Parliament exceptionally quickly.
The regulations are intended to protect all residential occupants from eviction, which includes:
- License agreements
- Excluded license agreements
- Assured tenancy agreements
- Assured shorthold tenancy agreements
- Regulated tenancies (protected tenancies)
- Lease agreements
Tier 2 and Tier 3 Coronavirus restrictions
The eviction ban ended weeks ago. However, the Government agreed that tenants living in areas under the old Tier 2 and Tier 3 Coronavirus restrictions in England and Wales were temporarily protected from eviction.
Many angry landlords believe this is an eviction ban by the back door!
Mr Tantrum, a residential landlord in Brighton in Sussex, said: “It seems almost impossible under COVID-19 to evict a tenant. We just don’t know where we stand any more.”
“My tenant has failed to pay any rent since April, he has told me he knows his rights, I presume that right is not to pay rent. It does seem to be the message the government is sending out, which is misconstrued by some tenants and they think wrongly they don’t have to pay rent.” He said.
Is it time for the Government to give grants to landlords?
The British Landlords Association is requesting the Government to offer a grant to Landlords in England or introduce support by providing loans to tenants. The money from the loan could be paid directly to landlords or the letting agent, like the scheme which is currently available in Wales to Welsh renters.
Dr William Masih, one of the directors of The British Landlords Association, said: “It is becoming increasingly difficult trying to evict a tenant. The Government keeps changing the goal post”.
“Even some accidental landlords are now Homeless as their tenants refuse to give up vacant possession.”
“This can often be due to a relationship that has broken down or loss of a job, and the landlord needs to move back into their home.”
“Due to restrictions on eviction, an increasing number of accidental landlords are sofa surfing and two landlords that our members are homeless on the street”. He said.
An new blog has been written regarding the restriction issue, it is important you read that blog too, click here to read.
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You can contact our member’s legal team on 01293 855700 or submit an online inquiry.
Author: Simon Hampton
Source: Landlord Advice UK
Date: 20th of November 2020
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