UPDATED: Government extends evictions ban until at least February 2021
8 January 2021
The government has announced that evictions will now not be enforced by bailiffs until at least 21 February 2021, while courts will remain open with court procedures "regularly reviewed", and a new "mediation pilot" will come into play.
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The evictions ban in England has been extended for a further six weeks, meaning that evictions will not be enforced by bailiffs until 21 February 2021 at the earliest, aside from in the most "egregious cases". The "court rules and procedures introduced in September to support both tenants and landlords will remain in place and regularly reviewed" and a new mediation process will also be piloted in February.
This is a continuation of the government's measures to protect tenants during lockdown, alongside the previously announced six-month notice periods, currently in place until at least 31 March 2021.
The evictions ban will not be applicable in "egregious cases", including "anti-social behaviour, illegal occupation, death of a tenant where the property is unoccupied, fraud, perpetrators of domestic abuse in social housing and extreme rent arrears equivalent to 6 months’ rent."
As when this ban was first announced, courts will "continue to prioritise cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour, illegal occupation and perpetrators of domestic abuse in the social sector".
The new "mediation pilot" in England and Wales will offer mediation from February 2021 "as part of the possession process to try and help landlords and tenants to reach a mutual agreement and keep people in their homes". The mediation is expected to help courts to prioritise urgent cases, "without the need for a formal hearing".
“We have already taken unprecedented action to support renters during the pandemic including introducing a six-month notice period and financial support to help those struggling to pay their rent,” said Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, when announcing the ban in November.
“We are now going further by protecting renters from eviction during the new national restrictions and throughout the Christmas period – with a pause on bailiff activity other than in the most serious circumstances, such as anti-social behaviour or fraud, striking the right balance between helping tenants in need while ensuring landlords have access to justice in the most serious cases.”
This article is intended as a guide only. For more information, see gov.uk.
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