Government further extends ban on evictions | New

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The government has once again extended the ban on homeowners from bailiff evictions which was due to expire at the end of this month.

The Housing Ministry said it had extended the ban on evictions until May 31, alongside the six-month notice requirement for court proceedings, which was also extended at the same point.

The move is the third time it has extended the ban this year alone, following concerns expressed by tenant groups that those financially affected by the covid lockdown could otherwise find themselves homeless.

The ban has been in place since the start of the pandemic, with the government also initially suspending all legal proceedings. However, this moratorium was lifted in September, which means landlords can take legal action, but, if successful, they still cannot forcibly evict tenants except in the most serious cases of behavior. antisocial or fraud.

Housing activists say this still leaves tenants in a very precarious position, while homeowner advocates complain that they are being asked to fund the costs of the foreclosure with few options for financial assistance.

The Housing Ministry said it would consider the best approach to move away from emergency protections from early June, taking into account public health advice and the broader roadmap, involving a phasing out of emergency protections. emergency measures.

While building-to-rent landlords have so far widely reported that the vast majority of tenants have continued to pay rent during the pandemic, the National Residential Landlord Association (NRLA) has said the government urgently needs to develop a financial program to help both landlords and tenants and avert a homeless crisis when the eviction ban ends in June.

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the NRLA, welcomed the announcement of a phase-out of emergency measures, but that the further extension of the repossession ban will do “nothing to help homeowners and tenants financially affected by the pandemic “.

He said: “Given the cross-sectoral consensus on the need to resolve the rental debt crisis, this suggests that the government is unwilling to listen to the voices of those most affected.

“If the Chancellor is to avoid causing a homeless crisis, he must develop an urgent financial package including government-guaranteed interest-free loans to help late tenants pay off rent debts built up since March 2020. C ‘ is vital for those who do not meet the conditions. for benefit support.

Franz Doerr, CEO of rental technology platform Flatfair, said the announcement showed the concerns of tenants and landlords had “once again fallen on deaf ears in Whitehall”.

He said: “Since it was introduced last year, the ban on bailiffs has only served as a dressing in the rental market. Huge sums of debt are piling up at the feet of homeowners who continue to unfairly support the market.

The ministry said it had already made £ 180million available to local authorities to make discretionary housing payments to people in need, and increased housing allowance rates to $ 1 billion pounds sterling per year.

Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick. The move, announced alongside the extension of similar protections to commercial tenants, ensures that businesses and tenants “continue to be supported.”

He said: “These measures build on government action to provide financial support as restrictions are lifted over the next few months – extending the leave scheme, business rate holidays and increasing universal credit. “

The ministry added that a free mediation pilot project was also underway to allow landlords and tenants to resolve disputes without a formal court hearing.

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