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Evictions to be suspended for further two months, says Secretary of State

The government is to suspend evictions from social and private rented accommodation by a further two months, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has said.

Robert Jenrick tweeted: “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.”

Responding to the announcement, Cllr David Renard, housing spokesman at the Local Government Association, said: “We are pleased the Government has acted on our call to extend the current measures to protect tenants from eviction, which will provide reassurance that they will not lose their home because of coronavirus.

“Councils have been working closely with tenants who are experiencing financial difficulties, with many already suspending debt recovery and trying to use discretionary funding to support struggling households as quickly and effectively as possible."

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Cllr Renard added: "The continuation of these measures will help to mitigate against the rising homelessness pressures that councils are under as a result of the pandemic.

“We would like to see the Government follow this by bringing forward its pledge to end ‘no fault evictions’ and committing to maintaining local housing allowance rates at the lowest third of market rents so that tenants have greater security and households can meet their housing costs.”

Earlier today it was revealed that the Master of the Rolls, Sir Terence Etherton, had established a cross-sector working group to address concerns about the consequences of the current stay on housing possession claims ending.

The working group will be chaired by Mr Justice Knowles, the chair of the Civil Justice Council’s Access to Justice Sub Committee.

The concerns around housing possession claims were expressed by consultees who took part in the Civil Justice Council’s rapid review examining the impact of the changes mandated by COVID-19 on the operation of the civil justice system.

The review, conducted by the Legal Education Foundation, called - amongst other things - for a strengthening of the pre-action protocol and an expansion in the availability of legal advice to meet demand.

The report said this advice could be funded by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, “in recognition of the impact of their policy in creating the 'bubble' of possession cases that the court service is required to deal with”.

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