The ban on bailiff-enforced evictions for private renters has been extended in England and Wales.
This will be until February 21 “at least” according to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick; the ban will be reviewed at that date.
Landlords or agents acting on their behalf will still be able to enforce possession orders if tenants are more than six months in arrears irrespective of when the arrears accrued and therefore no longer have to pre-date Covid; however, these will go to court but cannot be enforced by bailiffs.
The exceptions to the ban still apply as before - in the relatively small number of cases of domestic violence and anti-social behaviour, for example, bailiff-enforced evictions can take place.
The government has also announced a further initiative for the private rental sector.
A statement from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government says: "A new mediation pilot will further support landlords and renters who face court procedures and potential eviction from next month (February). It will offer mediation as part of the possession process to try and help landlords and tenants to reach a mutual agreement and keep people in their homes.
"Helping to resolve disputes through mediation will enable courts to prioritise urgent cases, supporting landlords and tenants to resolve issues quickly without the need for a formal hearing. The mediation pilot will work within the existing court arrangements in England and Wales."
Anti-eviction campaigner Vicky Spratt took to Twitter almost immediately after the extension was announced to say the ‘bailiff-enforced’ element of the ban was “not enough” - she called for a ban on possession claims by landlords as well.
Scotland extended its ban yesterday to last until late March.