The UK government has revealed that tenants across the country affected by coronavirus will continue to be supported throughout the autumn and winter months.
The new laws issued by the government are being put in place to help both renters and buy-to-let landlords who are impacted directly or indirectly by coronavirus.
One of the major changes in the new legislation is the increase in notice period to six months, allowing renters who have been served notice the chance to stay in their homes over the winter months. The rule change also includes a ‘winter truce’ which will see renters in areas under local lockdowns exempt from bailiff enforcement of evictions. Exceptions to the new rules include antisocial behaviour and domestic violence.
Renters who are struggling financially thanks to the pandemic can also receive aid from an existing £180million Discretionary Housing Payments fund which local councils are able to distribute to vulnerable and struggling renters in their areas.
It’s not just renters who the government are keen to help under the new rules, with landlords also on the receiving end of new laws and legislation.
Since lockdown began in March, UK landlords have been unable to access the courts in order to regain possession of their properties, even if tenants have broken the law, are in serious rent arrears or have undertaken antisocial behaviour.
From 21st September however the courts will reopen to hear possession cases which is likely to be news positively received by landlords. The upcoming proceedings will be subject to various new processes and proceedings including:
- Cases will be heard at court in order of priority. Extreme rent arrears, antisocial behaviour and other illegal activity will take precedence.
- No cases from before 3rd August 2020 will immediately proceed to a hearing, instead landlords will be required to re-activate any cases prior to this date.
- Judges will be unable to hear cases unless landlords provide information and evidence on how tenants have been impacted by the pandemic.
The upcoming ‘winter truce’ will see no evictions permitted in England and Wales in the run up to and over the Christmas period, except in the most serious of circumstances. This new guidance aims to protect the most vulnerable renters in society at a time when local authorities may not be able to deal with their case straight away.
The UK government has said they are committed to striking the balance between supporting both renters and landlords and the new laws are expected to be in place until at least March 2021.