The Government is set to ban evictions and bring in three-month mortgage payment holidays for landlords whose tenants are finding it difficult to pay rent due to Covid-19.
New legislation will suspend evictions from social or private rented housing during this national emergency. New possession proceedings through applications to the courts will be banned during the crisis. And landlords will be protected as three-month mortgage payment holidays are extended to buy-to-let mortgages.
The radical measures will prevent landlords from initiating the process of eviction for renters in both social and private accommodation for a minimum of the next three months.
In addition, the three-month mortgage payment holiday for private home owners announced on Tuesday will be extended to landlords whose tenants are struggling to pay rent owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
Government resolve clear
Furthermore, interest payment holidays will be introduced for residents finding it difficult to pay back Help to Buy equity loans. The Government will also issue guidance that ‘requests landlords to be compassionate and allow tenants affected by the virus to remain in their homes, wherever possible’.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has already said that the Government’s resolve is clear; no renter who has lost income due to illness will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord have to face unmanageable debts.
In these unprecedented times, he said, both renters and landlords naturally worry about paying rent and mortgages, which is why the Government is introducing without delay emergency legislation to protect tenants in social and private rented housing from the threat of eviction.
Extremely good news
Matt Downie, Director of Policy and External Affairs at Crisis, said that the news is “hugely welcome”. Hopefully, he continued, while we wait to see the fine details, it means that anyone served with an eviction notice will not face homelessness as a result of Covid-19.
Ben Beadle, CEO of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), commented that landlord organisations would welcome government support in recognition of the extraordinary situation. He added that the NRLA would work in close association with government to ensure the measures protect both tenants and landlords.
Andy Foote, director of SevenCapital, said the proposals were “extremely good news” and would be welcomed by all. It was, he added, very reassuring to see the legislation extended to both the social and private rented sector, where many landlords and tenants may be impacted in these unparalleled times.
At a time of crisis, Foote stressed, as the PM himself said, it would be wrong for people who follow government advice to be penalised as a direct result.
However, he pointed out that with regard to mortgage holidays, there was no information as to whether landlords who run their properties through limited companies will be protected under this legislation or whether alternative business measures will be enacted to address this matter.
Foote awaits further developments over the next few days.