Amy Castleman

+44 (0)1733 887746 arcastleman@greenwoodsgrm.co.uk

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Kirstie Goulder

+44 (0)1733 887682 kgoulder@greenwoodsgrm.co.uk

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New protection for renters during COVID-19

Property / 20 November 2020

Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, recently announced new measures to protect renters during the COVID-19 pandemic, prohibiting bailiff enforcement action until the New Year. Yesterday (17 November 2020), a new statutory instrument came into force encapsulating these measures, the Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020 (the “Regulations).  From 5 November 2020 until 11 January 2021 there is a ban on enforcing writs of possession subject to very limited exceptions.

Pursuant to the Regulations, whilst possession orders can still be granted by the court, enforcement officers are not permitted to enter residential premises and/or carry out evictions, except for limited circumstances, including:

—  Extreme anti-social behaviour;

—  Domestic abuse in social housing;

—  Where the landlord would like to re-let the property to an alternate tenant;

—  Illegal occupation; and/or

—  Fraud.

The Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government updated its guidance for landlords and tenants relating to coronavirus and renting to reflect the new national restrictions and measures. This guidance applies to any residential occupier including those occupying under a licence.

Comment
Whilst these measures provide further, temporary relief against enforcement for tenants, the wider effects of the pandemic and lockdown are likely to have serious, long-term implications for the future of many residential landlords. Given the various amendments to the legal position, it’s important that you seek legal advice before serving a notice to avoid delay or issues in the future.  We are advising clients to take steps now given the inevitable delay the courts will face.  Over the last few months, we have been working with multiple clients to protect their position in such circumstances.

If you require advice about possession proceedings and/or taking enforcement action, please do get in touch with our highly experienced Property Disputes team.

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