New comprehensive support for renters this winter

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed new measures to support renters affected by coronavirus over autumn and winter.

The government has already changed the law to increase notice periods to six months meaning renters now served notice can stay in their homes over winter, with time to find alternative support or accommodation.

Jenrick has also confirmed that with coronavirus still posing a risk, if an area is in a local lockdown that includes a restriction on gathering in homes, evictions will not be enforced by bailiffs.

There will also be a ‘winter truce’ on the enforcement of evictions, with no evictions permitted in England and Wales in the run up to and over Christmas except in the most serious circumstances, such as cases involving anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse.

Jenrick said: “We have protected renters during the pandemic by banning evictions for six months – the longest eviction ban in the UK. To further support renters we have increased notice periods to six months, an unprecedented measure to help keep people in their homes over the winter months. It’s right that we strike a balance between protecting vulnerable renters and ensuring landlords whose tenants have behaved in illegal or anti-social ways have access to justice. Our legislation means such cases will be subject to shorter notice periods and then prioritised through the judiciary’s new court processes.”

David Renard, Local Government Association housing spokesperson, said: “It is good the government has set out measures to support renters, which will go some way to helping to protect tenants struggling financially and at risk of eviction when the ban ends. Councils remain concerned that the ending of the ban could see a rise in homelessness. They will continue to support tenants who are experiencing financial difficulty, but want to work with government on a long-term plan that will safeguard renters and help them to stay in their homes, in as many cases as possible.

“To give further protection to households, the government should bring forward its pledge to end ‘no fault evictions’ as well as commit to maintaining local housing allowance rates at the lowest third of market rents beyond the period it has committed to. It is also vital that the role of the local safety net is both properly recognised and adequately resourced in the forthcoming Spending Review. This will mean that tenants can have greater security and support to meet their housing costs.”