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Landlords and Tenants in 2020 and Evictions in 2021

The Coronavirus Act 2020 was introduced to protect tenants and landlords.

The Coronavirus pandemic brought with it untold problems; one of them the unavoidable scenario of tenants unable to pay their rent due to previously unforeseeable circumstances - and landlords wanting to evict them.

On 27 march 2020, the court service suspended all ongoing housing possession action, which meant that neither cases currently in the system, or about to go in the system could progress to the stage where someone could be evicted.

This suspension of housing possessions actioning would initially last for 90 days, but could be extended if needed.

As the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic continued further into 2020, loss of jobs, furlough and other significant implications affected households' ability to pay rent and retain their homes. The Government therefore had no option but to extend the March suspension. They also introduced a series of housing support 'measures', of which some have been amended since March 2020.

The Coronavirus Act 2020

Emergency legislation was introduced in June 2020 to help the country cope with the demands caused by the Coronavirus outbreak, and in the case of housing, was to protect tenancies and prevent evictions.

Provisions were included in the 2020 act to provide one main and standout item: to extend notice periods.

Do tenants still have to pay rent?

Yes. The Act states that tenants are still liable for their rent, and that they are required to pay this as normal. It also says that if the renter is facing financial hardship and may struggle to pay the rent, support is available for them.

What if they cannot pay?

There may be cases where the tenant genuinely is unable to pay. There is no official Government mandate, but it is suggested to help them out of moral obligation. One suggestion is to offer tenants a 'payment holiday'. Landlords could then ask lenders for a payment holiday themselves, as many are currently offering this option.

What should tenants do if they cannot pay?

It is advised that they should approach their landlord in the first instance if they have difficulty (or know they will have difficulty) meeting a rental payment. It's best if the tenants and landlords work together to seek a shared solution to decide on a rent payment scheme.

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."

What if landlords would like tenants to move out?

If they are private landlords, according to the Act 2020, they will have to give any renters three months' notice if they intend to 'seek possession' (serve notice that they want to end the tenancy). This means that the landlord can't apply to start any court processes (if needed) until after this period.

So can tenants be evicted?

No. On 27th March 2020, the court service suspended all ongoing housing possession action, which meant that neither cases currently in the system, nor cases about to go in the system, could progress to the stage where a tenant could be evicted.

On June 5th 2020, the government extended the suspension of new evictions until 23 August 2020.

What has happened in 2021?

On 8th January 2021, the evictions ban in England was extended for a further six weeks. This means that bailiffs will not enforce evictions until 21st February at the earliest.

What will happen after this time?

Government stated that 'The court rules and procedures introduced in September to support both tenants and landlords will remain in place and regularly reviewed.' Along with a new mediation process being piloted in February, there are continuous an on-going changes for both landlord and tenant rights.

For now, landlords cannot evict tenants without court action.

How can Butler & Stag help landlords?

Butler & Stag have recently partnered with ARO (Advanced Rent Option). This will allow B&S landlords to receive up to 12 months rent in advance. Click on the link to find out how much rent could be claimed upfront for your property

If you have any questions or queries on this subject, visit or contact your local Butler & Stag office.

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