The main trade body representing lettings agents has described the government’s latest eviction ban as “a further blow” for the sector.
At the end of last week the government formally announced a pause in evictions in England until January 11 at the earliest.
The only exceptions to this will be what the government calls “the most egregious cases”including where tenants have demonstrated anti-social behaviour or are the perpetrator of domestic abuse in social housing, and the landlord rightly would like to re-let their property to another tenant. Large scale arrears accumulated before the Coronavirus will also be an appropriate reason for an eviction to go ahead.
Now Timothy Douglas - policy and campaigns manager for ARLA Propertymark - says: “The UK government has yet again extended the ban on evictions in England and this will come as a further blow to our members.
“It will cause further distress on landlords who are currently dealing with ongoing rental arrears and add further pressure on the courts to manage the backlog of cases.
“Letting agents and the whole of the private rented sector have been impacted as a result of Covid-19 and the UK Government must recognise that this is hitting both landlords and tenants financially.
“There needs to be a coordinated approach that better supports the needs of the industry and measures are put in place to further support tenants who have built up Covid-related arrears through no fault of their own.”
Meanwhile, and perhaps predictably, activists in the Generation Rent group have also reacted to the ban - and they say it doesn’t go far enough.
Baroness Alicia Kennedy, director of the group, says: "The government had an opportunity to protect renters from losing their homes, and have instead chosen not to act. A non-binding pause on bailiff action is completely inadequate.
“Eviction notices will be dropping through renters' doors throughout lockdown, and the courts will be open the entire time, putting pressure on renters to move out while the pandemic rages on. Although the government has asked bailiffs not to enforce possession orders, it’s not clear if tenants are legally protected. In the event that a bailiff goes against the guidance, renters will have few options.”