by: Mary-Anne Bowring/Landlord Today
The government’s decision to extend the ban on landlords evicting renters will help to ensure that no-one will be evicted from their home this summer due to coronavirus.
However, it does leave some landlords who have not received a penny in rental income over the past few months in limbo. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced a two-month extension to the government's ban on evicting renters in England and Wales on Friday. The move means new evictions in England and Wales of tenants in both social and privately-rented accommodation will be suspended until 23 August.
The extension will run from 25 June, the end of the three-month period originally announced as part of emergency coronavirus legislation in March, which is likely to help a number of renters. Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley and creator of automated letting platform, PlanetRent, said: “There’s no doubt that thousands of renters that are suffering financial difficulty will be happy to hear the news from the government and will now feel more secure in their homes.
“With all of the uncertainty going on at the moment, tenants deserve to be protected by the government from evictions that could be through no fault of their own, and could well be down to financial hardship brought on by being furloughed or losing their job altogether, but this needs to be balanced by proving that their income has gone down.” But it is not clear at this stage what the government’s plans are when it comes to the market at the end of this two-month extension, creating a great deal of uncertainty in the process. Bowring continued: “The worry is that many landlords are retired, according to the English Private Landlord Survey, as many as 33% are.
“These landlords may well not have a mortgage to claim a repayment holiday on, rely on property income and without rent or furlough monies may struggle to survive.” He added: “Looking at the long term, the government may need to consider other ways of financially supporting households post-crisis. For example, through higher housing benefit payments as clearly the high cost of the furlough scheme means it cannot last indefinitely.
"Tenants and landlords should be working together in what is a difficult time for everybody, and should not use the eviction ban as an excuse to mistreat the property they live in or withhold rent if they are not in a genuinely financially difficult situation. “Some renters may need more financial assistance from the government but cancelling rents as some have suggested or getting the government to pay would be hugely damaging.”
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