The Daily Telegraph reports on 11 March 2021, that the Government has extended the ban on landlords being able to evict their residential tenants by a further two months as it responds to the very real possibility of creating thousands of homeless people when restrictions are finally lifted.
This bleak scenario is already projecting that some 840,000 tenants are in arrears with their rent and therefore must be given time to recover from the impact of the pandemic as restrictions are eased.
The current ban was due to end on 31 March 2021 but will now end on May 31. A question mark must remain on whether further extensions will be put in place to ease the impact of the homelessness problem which is brewing as a result of tenants falling behind on their rent, throughout the rest of 2021.
Exceptions To The Current Eviction Ban
The only chink of light in the eviction ban provisions for landlords is that in extreme circumstances, including rent arrears of over 6 months, along with fraud, and domestic abuse, the eviction process can go ahead.
Here at Shergroup we are starting to see landlords using the severe rent arrears provision to move forward with the enforcement of possession orders. We believe enforcement by Shergroup’s enforcement division provides an efficient, and empathic, response for landlords. We say empathic because there are no winners here. In carrying out the eviction process at this time it has to be done with care about the plight of the people being evicted. Access to justice must be maintained albeit in limited and difficult circumstances.
The impact on landlords, particularly those private landlords who have bought properties as an investment are highlighted in this article (see – severe rental arrears.) which was also published in the Telegraph. A landlord explains her dismal position of being left to pay the mortgage, with her tenant paying a shortfall, and then stopping paying the rent altogether.
The hardship suffered by the landlord featured in this article is a story we hear “day in, day out”, at Shergroup, as landlords call to ask us about our repossession service. The benefit of paying a high premium to get the enforcement service is that it saves weeks, if not months of waiting for a county court bailiff eviction appointment. The cost/benefit of transferring to the High Court for enforcement as opposed to waiting for a bailiff can be thousands of pounds.
Easing the Way Out of the Eviction Ban
One suggestion we do support has come from the National Residential Landlord Association (NRLA). This body is calling for an urgent financial package of Government guaranteed loans to help tenants repay rent debt bills built since last March. This seems to us to be a smart idea.
If we are to clamber out of this current crisis there can be no hard stop in support for landlords or tenants. A financial package to ease people through the transition is a positive way to respond and help people get back on track with their finances. The NRLA estimated that 7pc of renters are currently in arrears due to the pandemic – equivalent to 840,000 households.
For commercial landlords, they too have seen an extension in the ban on evictions until 30th June. Again the Government justifies this extension to support businesses and protect jobs. Shergroup will help commercial landlords identify cases where the timelimits for CRAR have been reached so this remedy can be used. We are also seeing commercial landlords using Forfeiture for breach of non-rent obligations being used following the service of Section 146 Notices.
This is a testing time for landlords and tenants of all shapes and sizes and as we said earlier in this piece there are no winners. The pandemic has done its worst. What we can hope for is a roadmap from the Government to ease the transition from eviction ban to the normalisation of rent payments so that tenants can stay in their properties, and landlords are not losing out on their rental income. How to achieve that is a headache for the Government!
For landlords, we offer a no-obligation free review of your current situation so that we can check dates, and type of tenancy, and guide you to any remedy that may be available. We will work with you to ensure you have the correct permissions in place, and all High Court Rules are complied with.
Contact us on 0845 890 9200 or email us at [email protected].