Government bans evictions and extends mortgage payment holidays to landlords

The government has suspended evictions and introduced three-month mortgage payment holidays for landlords.

Landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least three months from social or private rented stock.

The three-month mortgage payment holiday measures have been extended to landlords who are facing financial difficulties due to coronavirus.

The government will issue guidance asking landlords to show compassion and to allow tenants who are affected to remain in their homes wherever possible.

Robert Jenrick MP, Housing Secretary, said: “The government is clear – no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts.

“These are extraordinary times and renters and landlords alike are of course worried about paying their rent and mortgage. Which is why we are urgently introducing emergency legislation to protect tenants in social and private accommodation from an eviction process being started.

“These changes will protect all renters and private landlords ensuring everyone gets the support they need at this very difficult time.”

Andy Foote, director at SevenCapital, said yesterday: “This evening’s measures announced by the government will be welcomed by landlords and tenants alike.

“It’s extremely good news, and I’m sure there will be thousands who will breathe a huge sigh of relief, to hear that any renters affected, who as a result are unable to pay their rent during this period will also be protected.”

Foote added that there’s some uncertainty regarding whether limited company landlords can get assistance.

He said: “During a tough period of time, as the Prime Minister himself said, it would not be right for people to be penalised as a direct result of following government advice.

“The information that appears to be missing however, with regards to mortgage relief, is whether landlords who run their properties through limited companies will be protected under this legislation or whether there are alternate business measures being put in place that will cover this.

“We await further developments over the next few days.”

Others in property industry praised the move.

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “Landlord groups welcomes government support.

“We recognise the exceptional circumstances and we will work collaboratively with government to ensure these measures protect both landlords and tenants.”

David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, said: “We are very conscious of the plight of tenants in these difficult times and appreciate any government action to help those affected by the current situation.

“Letting agencies rely on rental payments and therefore government must help to ensure agents can maintain their current service levels during any period where rent is not being paid.

“Specifically, we are calling on government to extend the retail discount on business rates to estate and letting agents.”

Franz Doerr, founder and chief executive of flatfair, said: “Protecting renters who may be facing a financially precarious position during this pandemic is absolutely crucial and the fact that the government is putting forward legislation to help the UK’s millions of renters feel safe and secure in their home is to be welcomed.

“Extending the three-month mortgage holiday to landlords whose tenants are experiencing difficulty paying is a sensible step.”

Matt Downie, director of policy and external affairs at Crisis, said: “This is a hugely welcome announcement.

“While we await the detail, we hope this means anyone served an eviction notice will not be left facing homelessness as a result of the pandemic.

“We appreciate that this needs to be a workable solution for renters and landlords, but would stress that any repayment plan must be affordable for tenants.

“If someone loses their job because of the outbreak and has no income coming in, they cannot be faced with intolerable levels of debt once these emergency measures are lifted.”

The update comes after discussion in the House of Commons yesterday.

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn had said that tenants are worried they won’t be able to pay their rent if they get ill, lose pay or self-isolate due to coronavirus.

In response Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that emergency legislation would be put in place.