Your guide to protection against eviction for tenants during Covid-19

19 March 2020

The government will put in place a package of measures to protect both landlords and tenants during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

⚠️ This article was originally published on 19 March 2020. An updated post on the current situation with regard to government guidance on this topic can be found here.

The government has now published emergency coronavirus legislation which sets out the rights of tenants for eviction proceedings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The measures will be applicable to all tenants in the private and social rented sectors.

They state that eviction notice periods are to be extended from two to three months, to “delay when landlords are able to evict tenants.” The legislation leaves space for the government to extend the notice period to six months.

The new measures don’t stop landlords from “serving a notice of intention to process” and the tenant will still be liable for rental payments.

However, the government previously suggested that landlords should "show compassion" to “allow tenants who are affected to remain in their homes wherever possible”.

Landlords will also receive protection, with a three-month mortgage payment holiday now also extended to Buy to Let mortgages.

Although not specified in the published legislation, the government has stated that they will be offering government-backed Help to Buy equity loan holders interest payment holidays.

The government also aims to widen the scope of the “pre-action protocol” on possession proceedings, traditionally only applicable to social tenants, to include private tenants. This protocol encourages more engagement between the landlord and tenant to resolve disputes and to avoid court proceedings. Landlords will need to speak with tenants to better understand their financial situation.

This article is intended as a guide only. It is not exhaustive and doesn't constitute legal advice. See more information.

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