This article is lifted from Karens presentation at our first annual insolvency conference.
Can tenants be evicted over Christmas?
What is the 'Christmas truce' on evictions and how long will it last?
Unprecedented steps have been taken by the Government to protect tenants affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
There was the announcement of the coronavirus ban on evictions in March, which was subsequently extended, followed by changes to eviction law and notice periods. The final set of changes extended the notice period for section 21 and section 8 evictions to six months from three.
What is the evictions winter truce?
It was also announced that there will be a winter truce on evictions over the Christmas period, with the UK Government’s website stating that:
“There will also be a ‘winter truce’ on the enforcement of evictions(…). This will ensure vulnerable tenants are not forced from their homes at a time when public and local authorities may be dealing with the usual level of increased demand for services during this time. To achieve this, guidance will be issued to bailiffs that they should not enforce possession orders in the weeks of Christmas.”
Can landlords evict tenants over Christmas?
In short, no. As a tenant, you cannot be removed from your rented accommodation over the Christmas period 2020/21.
There are however, some exceptions to this.
Responding to a written question in parliament, Christopher Pincher, Minister of state for housing, said that bailiffs in England and Wales should not enforce possession orders over the coming festive period.
This is being introduced to prevent upheaval for families after what has been for many an already testing year. There is also growing uncertainty over the increasing infection rates and how evictions will work over the winter months.
It is of comfort to landlords however that the Courts are still progressing eviction cases over this period, and an Order can still be made during this time giving landlords possession of their property back. The truce applied to Bailiff enforcements of those Orders.
What are the dates of the ‘Christmas truce on evictions’?
The dates of the Christmas truce on evictions have been confirmed as 11th December 2020 to 11th January 2021.
The Minister of State for Housing said that guidance being issued to bailiffs highlighting they should not enforce possession orders in England and Wales across 11 December 2020 to 11 January 2021.
Housing Minister Robert Jenrick confirmed that eviction enforcements will still be able to go ahead “in the most serious circumstances, such as cases involving anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse.”
It is possible that this will include cases of severe rent arrears (of more than 6 months), domestic abuse or serious anti-social behaviour, including drug use at the property. However exact details will be confirmed nearer the time.
Can I be evicted in a local lock down?
The package of measures announced in September stated that renters living in areas of local lock down will be protected from eviction enforcement. That stated however, the Courts will still progress and issue eviction Orders against tenants over this period, with the Christmas truce only affecting Bailiff enforcements in respect of those Orders.
“Guidance will also be issued to bailiffs highlighting that they should not enforce possession orders in places where local public health restrictions have been introduced by the Government through legislation.”
Christmas Evictions Truce: Legal Advice for landlords
If you are a landlord and are seeking clarification over the Christmas truce, or have a general eviction enquiry, please contact us for a free initial consultation where we can advise you on the most efficient way of recovering possession of your property.
Landlord & tenant solicitors in Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch and The New Forest
If you wish for us to assist you with eviction related enquiries, including drafting and issuing proceedings or eviction notices, please feel free to contact us on 01202 499255.
We offer all new clients a free initial chat with one of our bright, friendly lawyers over the phone or by video call.
Related landlord & tenant articles
Will Bartley is one of our bright lawyers in our specialist dispute resolution team. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, he has been keeping landlords and tenants up to date with changes in guidance and legislation.
You may find the following articles useful if you are affected by any of the issues outlined in this article.