Beginning of the end for emergency measures in the private rented sector
But government remains “unwilling” to tackle rent debt crisis warn landlords
Responding to an announcement from the Government this afternoon that current regulations restricting repossessions will be extended until the 31st May and then begin to taper off, Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association said:
“We welcome clarification that emergency measures in the rental market will be phased out in tandem with the overall roadmap out of lockdown restrictions.
“That said, the further extension to the repossessions ban will do nothing to help those landlords and tenants financially hit due to the pandemic. Given the cross-sector consensus for the need to address the rent debt crisis, it suggests the Government are unwilling to listen to the voices of those most affected.
“If the Chancellor wants to avoid causing a homelessness crisis, he must develop an urgent financial package including interest free, government guaranteed loans to help tenants in arrears to pay off rent debts built since March 2020. This is vital for those who do not qualify for benefit support. Without this, more tenants face losing their homes, and many will carry damaged credit scores, making it more difficult to rent in the future and causing huge pressure on local authorities when they can least manage it.”
The announcement today means that until the 31st May private landlords will need to continue to give tenants six months’ notice before they can repossess properties, except in the following circumstances:
- Anti-social behaviour (4 weeks’ notice)
- False statements provided by the tenant (2 to 4 weeks’ notice)
- Over 6 months’ accumulated rent arrears (4 weeks’ notice)
- Breach of immigration rules under the ‘Right to Rent’ policy (3 months’ notice)
The restrictions on repossessions will start to taper off from the start of June.
Also, until the 31st May possession orders and warrants will not be able to be enforced apart from the following situations:
- Where a possession claim is against trespassers who are persons unknown to the landlord.
- Where tenants have committed antisocial behaviour.
- Where tenants have provided false statements in order to secure a tenancy.
- Where the tenant has passed away.
- Cases of substantial rent arrears equivalent to six months’ rent. The Justice Minister, Alex Chalk MP, yesterday noted that: “it is unlikely—indeed, this is borne out by the statistics—that a full six months of arrears would have been accumulated solely due to covid-19.”