This article is lifted from Karens presentation at our first annual insolvency conference.
Many tenants and landlords alike have been questioning the impact that the Coronavirus will have on evicting tenants over the next few months.
Whilst the Government have made some proposals and announcements, nothing has been set in stone and it would appear to be a developing and ever changing issue at the moment. However, it is likely that a ban on evicting tenants during this difficult and uncertain period will soon become legislation.
Can I be evicted from my home at the moment?
Whilst nothing is set in stone, it would appear from recent Government announcements that landlords will be barred from evicting their tenants during this crisis. There has been no set implementation or exit date to this proposal, however it is highly unlikely that the Courts will be processing and progressing any eviction proceedings at the moment.
How long is the coronavirus ban on evictions?
This is expected to last for a minimum of 3 months, however this is obviously a fluid issue subject to constant review and change.
UPDATE: The government has now extended these measure. Read Will's article on the extension to the eviction ban here.
What happens if I have already given my tenants notice or issued possession proceedings in Court?
If you have already served your tenant with an eviction notice, such as a Section 21 or Section 8 Notice, it is highly unlikely that the Court will permit this to be progressed at this time.
Many County Courts are still open and continuing to progress their cases through telephone Hearings, however it is unclear whether the Courts will be progressing certain civil cases, such as evictions, at this time.
It may, therefore, be that any current eviction case is delayed until the Courts are content to proceed with existing cases again.
What happens if I can’t pay my rent during lockdown?
Given the current crisis and the vast closures of businesses, it is highly likely that many tenants will be struggling financially to make ends meet and pay their rent in full. Tenants can ask their landlords for a rent break, however any rent not paid when due will still need to be repaid once the rent break is over.
What if I fall into arrears during the coronavirus lockdown?
If a tenant does fall into rent arrears during this period and they are concerned about being evicted once the Courts permit new possession proceedings applications to be made, landlords may struggle to rely on the Section 8 rent arrears route previously available to them.
What is a reasonable rent repayment schedule?
The Government has stated that landlords will be under a duty to attempt to mitigate this issue by reaching an agreement with their tenant on a reasonable rent repayment schedule.
This, of course, is difficult to assess at this stage as to what ‘reasonable’ might mean, and if landlords are not happy with the proposals and wish to commence proceedings in Court, it will likely be at the discretion of the Judge to decide whether an eviction Order should be made.
Coronavirus: Updates for landlords and tenants
We will continue to monitor this situation as it develops and will be providing updates and advice to any new or existing clients throughout the Coronavirus crisis. If you have an enquiry that you wish to discuss, please feel free to contact us on 01202 499255 or fill out the form on this page.
We have a dedicated coronavirus page, where we will post links to all articles, fact sheets and downloads concerning the outbreak and implications for businesses and individuals.