19 March, 2020
The Prime Minister has announced that the Government will introduce emergency legislation to protect residential tenants from eviction amid growing fears about ability to pay rent as a direct consequence of the economic effect of coronavirus and absence from work.
In response to these concerns, the Prime Minister has indicated that the Government will bring forward legislation to protect those in rented accommodation from eviction. This measure is will apply to both private and social landlords.
The National Housing Federation, as the representative body for Housing Associations in England, has taken the first steps to quell any worries by announcing that Housing Associations will not evict tenants who are in arrears or delay in making rental payments due to the coronavirus. The government has announced that the 3 month mortgage holiday will be extended to landlords as well, recognising the onward impact on landlords.
It is anticipated that these protective measures are likely to be effective for at least 3 months, but possibly longer depending on how the situation unfolds. It is also understood that a new pre-action protocol will also be introduced for possession claims.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said:
"The government is clear - no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts."
The draft legislation has yet to be fully published for these measures and therefore it is difficult to fully assess the extent of the protection for tenants or how this will affect landlords. However, we will report further once this is available and new guidance will have to be given to landlords and tenants alike as to their rights and obligations.
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