There was widespread disappointment among buy-to-let landlords when the government decided to prolong the existing ban on tenant evictions until 20 September, and so spare a thought for commercial landlords who now face the prospect of the government extending rules banning them from evicting those unable to pay the rent.
A moratorium on business evictions, introduced in April to help retailers and restaurant owners forced to shut sites for the lockdown, had been due to end on 30 September but the government left commercial landlords fuming yesterday when it was reported that it is looking at extending it to the end of the year.
BTL landlords will be hoping that the current rental eviction ban rules in England and Wales will not be extended again.
The initial ban, introduced at the start of lockdown in March, has so far been extended three times with the third extension, to 20 September, also requiring landlords to give tenants a six-month notice period, meaning that no tenant would find themselves evicted until at least March 2021.
A further restriction was confirmed earlier this week that if an area is in a local lockdown that includes a restriction on gathering in residential properties, evictions will not be enforced by bailiffs.
The government has also announced in recent days that tenants will be protected from eviction over the winter period.
But the government has not yet confirmed which dates the so-called ‘winter truce’ will cover for tenants in England and Wales.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick commented: “We have protected renters during the pandemic by banning evictions for 6 months – the longest eviction ban in the UK. To further support renters we have increased notice periods to 6 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.”
According to independent research, 87% of tenants have continued to pay full rent since the start of the pandemic, with a further 8% agreeing reduced fees with their landlords.