No enforcement of possession orders except for the most serious cases

There will be no enforcement of possession orders during the new lockdown period, except for the most serious cases, the government has confirmed.

Robert Buckland

The justice secretary, Robert Buckland, said that this would be the case in a letter to the High Court Enforcement Officers Association.

According to the latest guidance, serous cases include those related to illegal trespassing and squatting and tenants engaged in anti-social behaviour, fraud or deception.

The government has also confirmed that it will bring forward an exemption from the enforcement ban for cases related to extreme pre-Covid-19 rent arrears.

Ben Beadle, chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, commented: “The vast majority of landlords who have had tenants affected due to the pandemic have been working constructively to support them. We continue to encourage and support such action.

“However, in a minority of cases renters have abused the protections afforded by the recent ban on repossessions, causing significant hardship. It is therefore important that the government recognises that in the most serious cases enforcement action must continue.”

The government yesterday announced that the furlough scheme and equivalent support for the self-employed will be extended until March next year, which is welcome relief for many tenants, and indeed landlords, reliant on the initiative.

Ben Beadle

Research by the Resolution Foundation found that as of September 9% of private renters in the UK were reliant on the furlough scheme.

Beadle added: “The extension of the furlough scheme and support for those who are self-employed will be a life line to many renters reliant on it. However, this still does not address the considerable rent arrears that tenants and landlords continue to face due to the pandemic through no fault of their own.

“Ministers need urgently to develop a bespoke financial package for renters to pay off such arears. This should include a mix of interest free government guaranteed hardship loans and increased benefit support for those who rely on it.”

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