The current extension to the eviction ban in England and Wales is “more balanced” than some past examples according to a leading housing lawyer.
Earlier this month the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced he was was extending a ban on bailiff evictions "for all but the most egregious cases" until at least February 21 - a six week extension.
While many landlords and representatives, including the National Residential Landlords Association, expressed dismay at the move, housing solicitor George Cohen, from law firm Irwin Mitchell, is quoted in the Law Gazette as saying at least some landlords may welcome the change.
Cohen says: "In the previous regulations, the substantial rent arrears exemption only applied where there were nine months’ arrears on or before 23 March 2020, which is extremely limited (if there were nine months' arrears before 23 March 2020, they would now be at 18 months). Many landlords are suffering severe hardship by rent arrears levels significantly below that figure, and six months appears to be a more balanced threshold."
In the article he adds: "Whether or not bailiffs will actually carry out evictions during lockdown is another matter. We have heard instances of bailiff officers implementing their own policies not to carry out evictions in a period of lockdown. There is also the question of how a bailiff deals with a situation where they attend a property for an eviction, and the tenant claims to be self-isolating. Presumably, the eviction could not be carried out. However, it is hoped that bailiffs will proceed with evictions in accordance with the regulations if they can do so safely."