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Legal changes

Possession orders: no enforcement against residential tenants now extended until 31 March 2021

The previous ban on enforcement that was due to end on 21 February 2021 has been extended to 31 March 2021.

The previous ban on bailiff activity was due to end on 21 February 2021. However, in accordance with recent lockdown measures, the Government has announced that the ban on evictions in England will be extended for a further six weeks, until 31 March 2021, with measures to be kept under review.

This was announced in the press release published on 14 February 2021, by the Ministry of Housing and Robert Jenrick MP, within which Robert Jenrick stated that these measures “strike the right balance between protecting tenants and enabling landlords to exercise their right to justice”.  

The Government had previously changed the law in England to ensure that bailiffs did not enforce evictions for six weeks until 22 February 2021. The recent press release confirms that this has now been extended until 31 March 2021.  

The only exceptions to this ban are those outlined in the statutory instrument which came into force on 17 November 2020 and detailed below as follows:

  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Illegal occupation
  • Death of tenant where the property is unoccupied
  • Fraud
  • Perpetrators of domestic abuse in social housing
  • Extreme rent arrears equivalent to 6 months’ rent

A new ‘mediation pilot’ has also been launched by the Government. Mediation will therefore be offered as part of possession proceedings and will work within the existing court arrangements of England and Wales.

The purpose of its introduction is to help landlords and tenants reach a mutual agreement, promptly, without the need of a formal hearing and therefore enabling the courts to prioritise urgent cases.

For further information, read the recent press release, Housing Secretary extends support for renters during pandemic published by the Ministry of Housing and Robert Jenrick MP on 14 February 2021.

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