New Extension on the Eviction Ban for England and Wales
The government announced a new eviction ban extension of four weeks, until 20 September. This measure is in place to help people financially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first eviction band was introduced in March and it was intended to last until 25 June. However, soon after the ban was extended to the end of August. Now, two days before the expiring date the government extended the ban for another four weeks.
The Housing charity Shelter gave an estimate that around 440,000 people would be homeless if the government did not step in to protect people living in rented accommodation. Even though the four-week eviction ban may help some people it is still believed that near the end of September a lot of people will be homeless. This can then create additional social and economic problems for the country on top of the existing issues caused by the pandemic.
Unlike England and Wales, Scotland gave an eviction ban that will last until 31 March 2021. With a longer ban period, people will have more time to normalise their earnings after such a long period of financial inactivity. This model may be useful for the entire UK, it remains to be seen what will happen near the end of September.
However, it is still advised that tenants make arrangements with property owners, if it is possible. Lowering the rent fee is still a better option than not paying at all. Therefore, it is up to all of us individually, in this respect, to find a way to work through the crisis we are facing.
An eviction ban is not the same as getting help from the country to pay you rent. On the contrary, this law only prohibits the landlord from evicting you but you have to pay rent regardless. Unlike mortgage holidays, eviction bans do not allow you to postpone your payments. This form of help is in essence the last resort measure and that is why it is recommended to continue making payments even if they are at a reduced rate.
If you cannot arrange with your landlord to ease the situation then you have the option to check if you are eligible for government benefits, like universal credit. But the best option is to make any type of arrangement with your landlord. The situation is dramatic by itself and most people are willing to make a deal.
The bottom line is that the landlord cannot evict you without a court order and a letter of notice. Such laws are in place to protect tenants from being harassed by landlords. Even without the pandemic, these laws give you space to do things without rushing and the risk of being homeless. The only difference is in the length of the eviction notice. Under regular circumstances, the eviction notice is shorter, with the eviction ban it could have lasted for a couple of months.
Since the situation is global and out of our control some MPs are calling for England and Wales to follow the model implemented in Scotland. It seems that the global economy will not go back to normal within the next year, let alone a month. Therefore, the extension of four weeks will not help people get back on their feet.
This situation calls for a lot of patience from all of us. No one is earning money at this moment even though a lot of us want to. Therefore, we should all have more understanding of the situation and do our best to lower the tension where we can.