Evictions ban ending: What it is, when it ends, and what it means for you
The UK Government has confirmed that the eviction ban that has been in place in England will come to an end on May 31st. From June 1st, bailiffs will be authorised to use enforcement action, including making home visits.
Here’s everything you need to know.
What is the eviction ban?
There has been a ban on evictions and bailiff action in England for the best part of the last six months, first put in place last year to offer renters protection against landlords during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ban prevents anyone from being forced from their homes by landlords, even if they are in default.
The eviction ban has now been extended several times. Originally, it was slated to end in autumn 2020, but was then extended to offer protection over the Christmas period – known as the Christmas Truce.
At the turn of the New Year, the ban was then extended again given the four nations of the UK went into varying forms of total lockdown. Despite previous extensions, the ban is now set to come to an end on Monday 31st of May.
How does the eviction ban protect tenants?
The Government had taken the step to ban evictions in order to protect renters from sudden evictions in the middle of a global pandemic, as well as reducing the burden on already stretched local authorities whose job it would be to house any individual made homeless through eviction.
The ban sought to provide safe homes to renters throughout the course of the pandemic, and prevented the eviction of any tenant in England or Wales except in the most serious circumstances, like cases of extreme anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse.
Why is the eviction ban coming to an end?
The ban on evictions was primarily put in place to prevent people being made homeless in the middle of a pandemic, especially when a key part of the UK strategy for stopping the spread was encouraging people to stay at home.
Now that the vaccination effort is well underway in England, and some semblance of normal life is returning, the Government’s position is that there is no longer a need for the extra level of protection from eviction.
What are the rules on evictions right now?
Under the eviction ban in England, the rules currently mean that:
– Bailiffs are unable to repossess properties
– Bailiffs are forbidden from making home visits
– Landlords have to give six months’ notice to begin eviction proceedings
From Monday, those restrictions will be lifted and landlords will once again be able to take enforcement action.
What will the rules on eviction be like once the ban ends?
From the 1st of June the eviction ban will be lifted. This means that bailiffs will once again be able to take enforcement action, including visiting people’s homes as long as they maintain social distancing.
From Monday, bailiffs will also be able to repossess homes to sell at auction as a means of recovering money for landlords.
One important thing to note is that, even with the ban lifting, certain restrictions will remain in place for bailiffs visiting tenants at home, including being asked not to show up at a property if the tenant in question is self-isolating or shielding.
Landlords will also be able to operate without certain restrictions when the eviction ban is listed. They’ll be able to instigate eviction proceedings with only four months’ notice, as opposed to the six that was needed when the ban was in place.
Is the eviction ban ending in the rest of the UK?
Housing is a devolved issue in the UK, meaning the four nations of the UK have diverged on their evictions policy throughout the course of the pandemic.
The state of the evictions ban in the devolved nations is as follows:
Scottish council areas are operating in a tiered lockdown system, with tiers ranging from 0 (no restrictions) to 4 (the tightest restrictions).
The Scottish Government has confirmed a ban on evictions will be in place until September for tiers 3 and 4, with eviction being enforceable in tiers 2 and below.
Given that the vast majority of the country is now in tier 2, with the exception of Glasgow, evictions in Scotland are effectively back on the table, unless there is another spike in the number of cases.
Evictions in Wales are banned until the 30th of June. Landlords starting eviction proceedings must give six months’ notice – except in cases of anti-social behaviour or domestic violence – and the policy will be the subject of regular review from the Welsh Senedd.
There has never been a full ban on evictions in Northern Ireland, although during the course of the pandemic, landlords have been forced to give 12 weeks’ notice to tenants facing eviction. This policy will run until September.
How do I protect myself from eviction?
The pandemic has impacted many peoples’ finances, with tighter restrictions lowering demand across industries and closing many businesses for good.
Many private renters are stretching themselves thin. Even though there are support schemes in place, if you were in rent arrears before the pandemic, you may just be kicking your problem down the road.
As the biggest debt solution provider in the UK, Creditfix specialises in supporting people in rent arrears. For free advice and solutions to help you get your finances back on track, talk to one of our debt experts today on 0800 0431 431.