Evictions Ban Extended for Another Six Weeks
The latest extension has been granted following the resumed nationwide lockdown in England.
The UK government has issued a new six-week extension to the ban on evictions in England as a result of the third national lockdown, following a similar move by Scotland on Thursday.
This means that baliff evictions will be barred in all but the most egregious cases for the duration of the new lockdown. The current restrictions were set to end on Monday, but charities and housing lawyers called for an immediate extension following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement of the nationwide lockdown on the same day.
The measure is now slated to end on 21 February at the earliest and will be kept under review. Scotland’s eviction ban will hold until the end of March.
In a statement, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said that court rules and procedures rolled out in September aimed at supporting landlords and tenants will remain in place. Courts will continue to prioritise certain cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse and illegal occupation.
Next month, a mediation pilot will begin to support renters and landlords facing court procedures and potential eviction. The pilot will use mediation as part of the possession process to encourage mutual agreements between tenants and landlords.
“Helping to resolve disputes through mediation will enable courts to prioritise urgent cases, supporting landlords and tenants to resolve issues quickly without the need for a formal hearing,” the ministry said. “The mediation pilot will work within the existing court arrangements in England and Wales.”
In addition to these new measures, the ministry will also grant councils £10 million in extra funding to house rough sleepers during the winter months. The accommodation initiative will also focus on GP registration of rough sleepers in an effort to ensure they are not overlooked for COVID-19 vaccines.