The Government has extended the evictions ban in England for a further six weeks, meaning that evictions will not be enforced by bailiffs until 31 March 2021 at the earliest.
ARLA Propertymark's Robert Bolwell, Senior Partner at Dutton Gregory, answers questions on the Changes to the evictions process, serving notices and new court processes as a result of Covid-19.
The Debt Respite Scheme, or "Breathing Space" law, will come into effect on 4 May 2021 in England and Wales, to "give someone in problem debt the right to legal protections from their creditors" - including tenants.
The guidance for landlords and tenants during Covid-19 has been updated to make serious rent arrears "greater than 6 months' rent" exempt from the extended evictions ban in England - removing the stipulation that rent accrued since the start of the first lockdown in March 2020 could be discounted.
As under Tier 4 restrictions, the lettings industry can continue to operate during the third national lockdown in England. Letting agencies can "continue to work" and people are permitted to move home.
Covid-19 guidelines for letting agents and landlords, updated with the introduction of a fourth tier and still applicable during the third national lockdown, continue to prioritise tenant safety while reminding agents of tenant protections in place.
Local authorities will have greater powers to enforce compliance on businesses operating in an unsafe way, including financial penalties, when England returns to tiered restrictions on 2 December 2020.
"It's more important now than ever to make sure you get professional advice about the serving of a notice," says Tim Frome, discussing the most recent changes to the possession process as a result of Covid-19.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 April 2021, as restrictions increase throughout the UK.
Activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property have been made exceptions to the "stay at home" guidance under lockdown legislation.