Landlords react to extension of Wales eviction ban
The Welsh Government have announced that the suspension on eviction enforcement – due to end on 11 January – will be extended to the end of March 2021. The Welsh Government will review this every three weeks.
The suspension does not stop possession proceedings continuing through the courts, but it does prevent bailiff enforcement action in all cases except antisocial behaviour, trespass, and abandonment.
It follows the same-day announcement by the UK Government of the extension of the ban by six weeks in England.
Wales has not followed England in making one of the exemptions to the ban those with arrears in excess of six months. This reflects the existence of the Tenancy Saver Loan – a loan for private Welsh tenants, paid directly to the landlord, that helps them with Covid-related arrears – and the absence of such a support scheme across the border.
These new regulations do not affect the lengths of notice periods: while the Welsh Government have already extended these to six months, those citing anti-social behaviour returned to pre-pandemic lengths in September. The extension expires on 31 March 2021.
Responding to the announcement, Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association said:
“The pandemic has hit renters and landlords hard and we share the Welsh Government’s objective to ensure there is no rise in homelessness and that good tenants stay in their homes.
“The Tenancy Saver Loan, already announced for Welsh tenants, will help sustain tenancies and it is important that as many people who need it, can access it and why the Welsh Government should increase its promotion to encourage take-up.
“Ensuring tenants have the financial support to stay in their homes is the best way to prevent repossession. However, in addition to antisocial behaviour, landlords must be able to take action against those with extreme arrears, especially those that predate Covid, and particularly where tenants are not availing themselves of the financial support available, or do not meet the criteria.
“Depriving a landlord of their right to evict in these circumstances, in absence of any direct financial support, must be reviewed.”
Notes to Editors:
The Minister’s written statement is here.