Strettons has described the government’s decision to extend the ban of tenant evictions until 20 September as a ‘pragmatic and humane decision’ as it provides renters affected by Covid-19 pandemic with some much-needed relief, but the company is also concerned about the potential unintended consequences of the extension.
The property firm points out that some people, whose problems with rent arrears pre-date the pandemic or who have not been impacted in the same way, will gain some additional forbearance.
The firm also highlights the fact that this extension runs counter to the general policy of ‘bringing the country back to normality’ and ‘re-establishing the economic and commercial status quo’.
Paul Joseph, associate director and registered property receiver at Strettons, said: “For people without health or shielding issues, there is less of a problem today, and the evident recovery in the housing market and number of people moving home in recent months is proof of normality returning.
“There is no doubt that many need protection in their homes, but others also need protection. There are unintended consequences of this last minute, broad brush extension which, like much else, has perhaps been done without full consideration for all stakeholders.”
According to Joseph, the stay will have a significant impact, for example, where:
Possession orders had already been issued pre-lockdown, for perfectly valid reasons
Landlords cannot recover possession from tenants who were already in significant arrears or had other significant breaches of tenancy agreements, pre-lockdown
Landlords are receiving no income but may still be liable for repairs, insurance, service charges and their own debt repayments.
Landlords need to move back into their own homes
The occupants had no right to be in the property in the first place
Strettons have had success working with solicitors to get the occupiers to voluntarily vacate during lockdown while possession proceedings were not running.
Joseph added: “Solicitors cannot commence or continue possession proceedings, but the preparatory work can be done in advance, such as drafting witness statements.”
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