The government is accused of following the promise to protect tenants from eviction as the coronavirus crisis worsens
- The government bans evictions for three months for people who cannot work
- Landlords can still send eviction letters during this time
- Some have reported that tenants are already struggling to pay their rent
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The government has been accused of revoking its promise to protect tenants from eviction during the Coronavirus crisis.
Last week, the Ministry of Housing promised a ‘total expulsion ban’ for people who cannot work because of the pandemic.
About five million households in the UK live in private rental homes and many of these households may struggle to pay the bills if they need to be free from work.
However, this week it has been criticized that the government bill on coronavirus does not go far enough to protect these tenants from the loss of their home.
Landlords can still serve tenants with eviction letters for the next three months
Although the bill prevents tenants from being physically removed from their property for the next three months, landlords can still cancel them after the three-month period.
The new legislation has extended a landlord’s notice from two months to three months, meaning if a cancellation is made today, a tenant has three months to be evicted.
Shadow housing secretary John Healey said the bill “simply passes.” [renters] some extra time to pack their bags’.
Landlords will still be able to serve what is known as ‘Section 21’ and ‘Section 8’ during this time.
An Article 21 notification allows a landlord to remove tenants from their homes for any reason, but cannot be used for the first six months of the rental.
An Article 8 notice allows landlords to evict their tenant within the fixed term of their rent, but can only be used if the tenant has violated their lease and certain conditions are met.
Caitlin Wilkinson, policy manager at campaign group Generation Rent, said, “This legislation does not deliver on these promises in every way.
Some tenants are already struggling to pay rent
Tenants are already struggling to pay rent in the coronavirus outbreak, reports have confirmed.
Angus Stewart, chief executive of buy-to-let mortgage broker Property Master, said: ‘It’s early days, but we’ve already heard from landlords who have renters that they will be late with rent payments or who will be renting them out altogether.
“There are reports of tenants whose working hours have been shortened or who work for foreign companies that do not currently appear to be trading.”
“Deportation is the leading cause of homelessness, so the government must act now to prevent another crisis in three months.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing said: “We want to be clear that the emergency laws put forward mean that evictions cannot take place for three months due to coronavirus.
“The statement that we row back to it is utter nonsense.
“Once legislation is passed, no new property procedure will start in the next three months – in the social or private rental sector.
“We have the authority to extend this notice period if necessary.”
At the same time, this government supports tenants by guaranteeing that they will pay 80 percent of the employee’s wages, if their employer cannot afford it when they are on temporary leave, and by increasing the rent allowance.
“It is clear that we will do whatever it takes to support people in this difficult time.”
The government added that judges and bailiffs have been escorted, which means that it is highly unlikely that the existing occupation procedures will continue during this period.
This means that if a tenant were to be evicted this month, for example, he may now be given an extension.
I am a tenant, what should I do?
Citizens Advice expert Rachael Gore
Rachael Gore, senior housing expert at Citizens Advice, has this advice for renters who are concerned about the corona virus: “If you have trouble paying rent, talk to your landlord right away.
“You have to explain the situation and you could ask for more time to pay or to make up for missed payments in installments.
If you can’t reach an agreement with your landlord, it’s a good idea to pay what you can pay and keep track of what you’ve offered.
“You should seek advice if you cannot reach an agreement because there is a risk that your landlord will try to evict you. In most cases, they must notify you and receive a court order to let you go.
‘If your income is reduced by coronavirus, you have to check whether you are entitled to sickness benefits or benefits. If you have pre-existing benefits, they can also increase.
Check whether you are eligible for both sickness benefits and benefits the Citizens Advice website. ‘