Shortly after the first lockdown, the government put the Tenant Eviction Ban in place to provide some security to renters who couldn't keep up with the rent. The ban was then extended, adding another two months to its term.
January 2021 saw a further extension to the ban. Initially set to end on January 11th, it will continue until February 21st and could well see more extensions if the UK remains in lockdown as we head into the spring.
So what does the ban mean for renters? For starters, no evictions can take place at the moment. But there's more, and in this guide, we're bringing you the latest on the Tenant's Eviction Ban and what it means for you.
What is the Tenant Eviction Ban?
Initially put in place during the first lockdown, the Tenant Eviction Ban means landlords can't impose a Section 21 on renters. The ban was designed to offer breathing space for those who found it difficult to pay rent because of Covid and the subsequent lockdowns.
Essentially, the Tenant Eviction Ban safeguards renters from being evicted by their landlord, and the extension means no evictions will be issues until February 21st. The ban applies to England and Wales, with Scotland having its own procedures in place.
Are there any loopholes?
While there aren't' any loopholes, as such, renters should lookout for a few stipulations. A landlord can still issue a notice in a shorter time period if you have more than six months of rent arrears. And you could still face eviction if it's proven that you have displayed antisocial behaviour during your tenancy.
What happens when the ban finishes?
There's every chance the government could extend the ban further. But even in the event of it finishing on February 21st, landlords will still need to give you six month's notice – rather than the usual two months' – up until March 31st. That would mean no evictions can actually take place until September 30th.
What should you do if you're struggling with the rent?
Communication has been the main driver between most renters and landlords. And, despite a few horror stories of illegal evictions and issues between both parties, most renters and landlords have managed to come to amicable solutions, avoiding the possibility of evictions.
A poll conducted by National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) reveals that over 95% of renters have continued to pay rent throughout the pandemic. Being upfront and honest about a situation is more likely to yield a better result than leaving things to get out of hand.
Understanding your rights
The fallout from Covid has impacted many people's personal and professional lives. Fearing eviction only adds to the anxiety and causes plenty of stress for renters. Fortunately, the Tenant Eviction Ban provides some security, even if there have been calls for the government to get more involved with financial packages for both parties.
As a renter, you should talk to the relevant organisations, such as Citizens Advice, if you're unsure of your rights. And, most importantly, communicate with your landlord – communication and transparency can solve many issues.