On 5 June 2020, the Housing Secretary announced plans to extend the current stay on possession proceedings until 23 August 2020. This means that renters across England and Wales will now be afforded greater protection from eviction with the moratorium having been extended for a further two months.
The two month extension will come into force on 25 June 2020, ensuring there’s no gap between the existing ban and the extension, and also applies to home owners, commercial and leasehold. Those landlords who wish to secure possession of their property by way of court action will have no option but to wait for the ban to be lifted (with the exception of claims against ‘trespassers’ and interim possession orders).
The government’s announcement was made to ensure that tenants are offered invaluable security throughout these unprecedented times. When possession proceedings do recommence, it is expected that further changes will be made to the current ‘rules’ to assist the court in giving appropriate protections for those tenants who have been directly affected by coronavirus. Whilst such changes are yet to be announced, the government has made it clear that landlords and tenants should work together and exhaust all possible options (such as flexible payment plans which take into account a tenant’s individual circumstance) to ensure cases only end up in court as an absolute last resort.
The government has also announced plans to extend mortgage payment holdings to include landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to the pandemic. Each application will be considered on an individual basis, and landlords are being urged to contact their lenders for further information should they require assistance.
We intend to provide further updates as the changes to the legislation comes into effect, however if you have any queries concerning your ongoing case, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our commercial law team.