Canada markets close in 3 hours 22 minutes

Coronavirus: Renter eviction ban extended

Photo: Getty

A ban on landlords evicting renters has been extended by two months as part of continued emergency coronavirus measures.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick announced the government's plans yesterday claiming it would benefit "millions of renters".

New evictions from social or private rented accommodation in England and Wales are suspended until 23 August.

The original legislation, which began in March, was due to expire on 25 June.

The government has also introduced new court rules to ensure vulnerable renters will be protected when the suspension of evictions ends.

"Eviction hearings will not be heard in courts until the end of August and no-one will be evicted from their home this summer due to coronavirus,” said Jenrick.

"We are also working with the judiciary on proposals to ensure that when evictions proceedings do recommence, arrangements, including rules, are in place to assist the court in giving appropriate protections for those who have been particularly affected by coronavirus – including those tenants who have been shielding," he continued.

Polly Neate, chief executive of homeless charity Shelter, said the extension would give families a "vital stay of execution".

But she warned that renters who had lost their jobs due to the pandemic would still struggle to pay back arrears.

READ MORE: How Brits have saved hundreds of pounds in lockdown

 "Even if they have a plan to pay them back, these debts will throw struggling renters straight back into the firing line of an automatic eviction as soon as the ban does lift,” Neate said.

"It's critical that Robert Jenrick uses this extension wisely to change the law and properly protect renters," she added.

Where tenants do experience financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the government said landlords and tenants should exhaust all options such as flexible payment plans and only use court as a last resort.

Research by the District Councils Network suggests around 486,000 households are spending more than half of their income on private rented housing, which could be at risk when the evictions ban is lifted.