Responding to this evening's announcement, Dan Wilson Craw - the director of campaigning group Generation Rent - says: "It’s a relief that the government has listened to renters’ concerns and is extending the ban. Renters who have lost income in the past few months are extremely worried about losing their home as a result. The government has averted a homelessness crisis - for now.
"But with holes in the housing safety net and much of the economy still in lockdown, millions of renters will get further behind on rent. Not all of them can rely on their landlord’s goodwill and so need further help with rent, and assurance that they can stay in their homes beyond the summer. The government must use the time it has bought itself to develop a long term solution to provide rent relief and end unfair evictions for good. "
And the government has this evening issued its full statement to back up the Jenrick tweet. The statement says:
Millions of renters across England and Wales will receive greater protection after the government extended the suspension of new evictions until 23 August.
The extension announced by the Housing Secretary today (5 June 2020) takes the moratorium on evictions to a total of five months to ensure that renters continue to have certainty and security.
Ministers are also working with the judiciary, legal representatives and the advice sector on arrangements, including new rules, which will mean that courts are better able to address the need for appropriate protection of all parties, including those shielding from coronavirus. This is to ensure that judges have all the information necessary to make just decisions and that the most vulnerable tenants can get the help they need.
Where tenants do experience financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic, the government is 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 circumstances – to ensure cases only end up in court as an absolute last resort.
Over the coming weeks, the government is taking careful steps to ease lockdown measures, alongside decisive steps already taken to unlock the housing market so people can move if they need to – for example where they may need to move for work or for family reasons.
While the government is taking unprecedented action to protect tenants and landlords during these times, the ultimate ambition is to transition out of these measures at the end of August to allow the market to operate while ensuring people have appropriate access to justice.
Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:
We have provided an unprecedented package of support for renters during this pandemic. Today, I am announcing that the government’s ban on evictions will be extended for another 2 months. That takes the moratorium on evictions to a total of 5 months.
Eviction hearings will not be heard in courts until the end of August and no-one will be evicted from their home this summer due to coronavirus.
We are also working with the judiciary on proposals to ensure that when evictions proceedings do recommence, arrangements, including rules, are in place to assist the court in giving appropriate protections for those who have been particularly affected by coronavirus – including those tenants who have been shielding.
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Robert Buckland QC MP, said:
Protecting vulnerable people has been our priority throughout this pandemic. Extending this ban will give people invaluable security in these turbulent times and work continues at pace to ensure vulnerable renters remain protected long after the ban ends.