Repossessions Resume from August 24th
In answers to parliamentary questions, a government minister has confirmed that repossessions are set to restart from Monday 24th August (2020), a week before the summer bank holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Tenants with unpaid rent could again be liable to eviction, especially if their debt has mounted up over longer than three months.
Minister of State Lord Greenhalgh affirmed that from the late August date, the five-month suspension would end. As a result, affected tenants and owner-occupiers with significant arrears might receive eviction notices from as early as September, following court hearings in which landlords and lenders had applied for and obtained possession orders.
By the late August date, evictions will have been on hold for approximately five months – since March 2020. According to the information provided by the minister, work was in progress with the judiciary, advice sector and legal representatives regarding arrangements and new guidelines to make sure judges had all the information needed to arrive at just decisions when the courts restart processing once more. Additionally, the most vulnerable tenants should receive all the help they need.
Answering in his capacity as Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Conservative peer also holds ministerial responsibility in the Home Office. Without doubt, he will have been mindful that the government has to balance the needs of renters with those of landlords and their investment(s), coupled with the latter’s legal right to regain their property when justified.
Posed towards the end of June and reported on the Parliament UK site, Baroness Altmann’s question had asked about private landlords being able to reclaim their properties without additional delay if the court had already granted them an order before the extension of the suspension of evictions until 23rd August.
Resolving problematic tenancies
Also weighing in on behalf of property owners, Ben Beadle, the chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, considered that the ministerial clarification would improve the rental market. Whereas landlords and tenants attempted to sustain viable tenancies wherever possible, as Mr Beadle saw it, a small proportion of unsatisfactory contracts required swift remedial action. Typically, such cases involved domestic violence or antisocial behaviour.
Finally, the association called for the prioritisation of repossessions for applications and orders issued before the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, along with those cases not connected with the resulting effects on the economy and tenants’ incomes.
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