What Could Be the Consequences of the Hold on Landlord Evictions?
While we continue to sail through uncharted seas in the lettings industry during the coronavirus pandemic, the good news is that evidence suggests there will be no major eviction crisis once the hold on landlord evictions is lifted.
The government acted early on to halt landlord eviction proceedings and to discourage landlords from filing any new complaints in order to ease the worries of renters whose jobs were in danger during lockdown. However, with the country slowly trekking back towards normality, Housing Minister Lord Greenhalgh confirmed the evictions process will be up and running again from the 23rd August.
Although reports from America suggest there could be a post-COVID avalanche of landlord evictions stateside, the situation looks more stable in the UK. A survey by Dynata in June found 90% of tenants were paying their rent as usual during lockdown, and only 16% had had to ask their landlord for help. Of that 16%, three quarters reported that they had reached a workable solution.
Lockdown Landlord Eviction Rules
The lockdown landlord eviction rules were put in place to avert a homelessness crisis in the UK. With many workers furloughed on 80% of their wage or without work because of the restrictions in place, the fear was that many tenants would fall behind on rent.
Both Section 8 for evictions and ‘no-fault’ Section 21 evictions became three-month notices to try and delay applications. At the same time, landlords were asked to hold off on bringing new cases. The suggestion was made that they take a mortgage holiday to mitigate the loss of rent.
Further to these lockdown landlord eviction rules, the government stalled hearings for an initial three months, before extending that period for a further two months. This will now come to an end in late August, allowing courts to hear cases once again.
What Might Happen Once the Hold on Landlord Evictions is Over?
Obviously, for anyone with a Section 8 or Section 21 notice already filed, there will be a backlog of hearings to get through once the hold on lockdown landlord evictions is over. Although landlords were asked not to file new complaints, there may have been some more cases added to the pile, which will contribute to further delays in processing.
However, the evidence suggests that there will not be a spike in landlord evictions as had been feared. What will have to happen is that landlords and tenants will have to work together to come to an arrangement about any amounts left outstanding. Rather than overloading a system already running at capacity, all parties are encouraged to come to a mutual agreement on the best way to pay back arrears caused during the coronavirus lockdown.
What Will the Landlord Eviction Process Look Like After August?
The Landlord eviction process may well look different after lockdown. One of the best-known landlord organisations, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), says it is working with the government to ensure everything possible has been done to reach an out-of-court agreement for rent arrears before taking it to an official eviction.
The NRLA is also lobbying for priority to be given to cases where arrears were built up before the coronavirus pandemic, where there has been domestic abuse or in cases revolving around antisocial behaviour. In addition, they are asking the government to make it easier for those who have recently found themselves out of work to pay their rent on time. This includes slashing the waiting time for payment of Universal Credit and an extension to Local Housing Allowance.
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