Bailiffs are unable to execute warrants for possession in areas affected by Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions.
A letter was sent to bailiffs from the Lord Chancellor asking them not to enter properties to evict where these restrictions are in place or during the Government’s so-called ‘Christmas truce’ from December 11 - January 11.
The news comes as a blow to landlords already granted orders, particularly those with tenants who have built up significant arrears pre-Covid or who have been making lives a misery through their anti-social behaviour.
Landlords currently progressing through the court system will still be able to obtain a possession order and warrant for possession, but will be unable to have that warrant executed by a bailiff while Tier 2 or 3 restrictions are in place in their locality.
At the time of mailing, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, South Yorkshire, Warrington and Nottinghamshire were in Tier 3, with London and other major conurbations in Tier 2.
And while the Government has said it will review the restrictions every 28 days, there are no guarantees as to when they will be lifted and where, with infection rates and deaths still increasing.
A little over 1 in 10 claims which reach court result in a bailiff repossession, stoking fears that – combined with the Christmas truce period – some evictions could be put on hold until mid-January at the earliest. The NRLA has reiterated its call for urgent financial support for landlords and tenants.
NRLA policy director Chris Norris said: “The Government needs to bring forward a comprehensive financial package that will help tenants to pay off rent arrears built as a result of the pandemic, a move which could keep many cases out of court in the first place.”