As part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic, the government announced on 18 March 2020
that it will introduce emergency legislation to prevent landlords evicting both social and private tenants during ‘this national emergency’.
Landlords will be prevented from initiating possession proceedings ‘for at least a three- month period’. The government will also extend the previously announced three-month mortgage holiday for homeowners to buy to let mortgages. After the period of suspension, landlords are expected to work with tenants to agree ‘an affordable repayment plan’. The government has worked with the Master of the Rolls ‘to widen the pre-action protocol on possession proceedings, to include private renters and to strengthen its remit’.
Responding to the announcement
, Polly Neate, chief executive at the housing charity Shelter, said the government had ‘done the right thing’ and the plan to prevent evictions ‘will come as a great relief to many people. Without this decisive action tens of thousands of renters would have faced eviction in the coming months, while potentially trying to isolate and protect themselves and others’.
The emergency legislation also has the support of landlords’ groups. Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said, ‘We recognise the exceptional circumstances and we will work collaboratively with government to ensure these measures protect both landlords and tenants.’
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.’