Social welfare and housing

Stay protects vulnerable tenants from eviction

News that the government has announced a stay on evictions until 23 August is an important step to protect vulnerable tenants during the uncertain time brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, says the Law Society England and Wales.

The government has announced that the stay on evictions has been extended until 23 August 2020.

Simon Davis, president of the Law Society, said: “Last week, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) announced that it would be extending its stay on new evictions for a further two months until 23 August, bringing relief to millions of tenants.

“The government first brought in these measures on 26 March 2020, for an initial period of three months, but has now extended for an additional two months, so vulnerable tenants can get the help they need, and courts can continue to make the necessary arrangements.

“The government has also committed to passing new court rules that will protect vulnerable tenants from eviction once the stay has been lifted.

“When hearings recommence, it is vital that legal aid is available to tenants and that the safety of court users is ensured.”

Notes to editors

The government’s full press release is available here.

The stay means that:

  • Courts are neither hearing nor progressing applications for possession orders made by landlords before 24 March 2020
  • This applies to all private or social housing tenancies as well as licenses falling under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977
  • The stay applies to England and Wales
  • There are exceptions set out in Practice Direction 51Z. These include applications for possession against trespassers and applications for case management directions which have been agreed by all parties
  • Schedule 29 Coronavirus Act 2020 also remains in force until 30 September 2020
  • Under this Act, landlords must provide tenants with a notice period of three months when issuing a notice seeking possession
  • Tenants are still obliged to pay rent during this period. If they are unable to do so, the government encourages open and honest conversations between the landlord and tenant about the tenant’s ability to pay rent

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Press office contact: Naomi Jeffreys | 020 8049 3928 |

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