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Tensions rise over eviction ban cut-off as landlords prepare court proceedings

·2-min read

Tensions are rising between landlords and renters as both sides brace for a ban on evictions to come to an end. 

Rules established at the start of the coronavirus crisis blocked any eviction cases from being heard in court before August 24 to protect tenants who suffered financial hardship due to the pandemic.

Tenants’ groups are now calling on the government to extend the ban - warning that struggling renters who face eviction are terrified they could end up homeless. Meanwhile landlords are fighting against further delay, saying they have been left at the mercy problem occupiers.

Caitlin Wilkinson of tenants’ campaign group Generation Rent called on ministers to act before the courts start hearing cases on Monday, Aug 24. 

She said: "The Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said that no renter who had lost income due to coronavirus would be forced out of their home, but that promise is about to be broken.

"Generation Rent is calling on the Government to extend the ban to stop any evictions using no-fault grounds or where the renter has lost income due to coronavirus." 

But Chris Norris of the National Residential Landlords Association, said the vast majority of landlords and tenants are already working together and a further ban is unnecessary.

He said: "We need the courts to deal with cases where tenants are committing anti-social behaviour or where there are long-standing rent arrears that have nothing to do with the pandemic.

"Over the last five months, landlords have been powerless to take any action against those who cause misery for fellow tenants and neighbours." 

Last month the Liberal Democrats tabled a motion to block the return to section 21 orders, which allow landlords to evict tenants from their property. 

Andrew Chesser, a lawyer at London firm Withers, said he thinks an extension to the ban is unlikely.  

He said: "Detailed rules on the way forward for existing and new possession claims have been issued.

"Landlord and tenants and their advisers should be ready to implement those on 24 August. In practice, one would expect there to be a backlog of cases for courts to work through as well as having to process new ones."

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