The ban on bailiff-enforced evictions has been extended until 22 February with no evictions expected to 8 March at the earliest, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has said.
The Ministry said the situation would be kept under review, adding that the only exceptions were for “the most egregious cases” – anti-social behaviour, illegal occupation, death of a tenant where the property is unoccupied, fraud, perpetrators of domestic abuse in social housing and extreme rent arrears equivalent to 6 months’ rent.
It added that court rules and procedures introduced in September to support both tenants and landlords would remain in place and regularly reviewed. “Landlords continue to be required to give 6-month notice periods to tenants until at least 31 March except in the most serious circumstances.”
The extension of the ban on bailiff-enforced evictions was announced alongside additional support to house rough sleepers across all councils in England, and confirmation that the Ministry’s mediation pilot for housing possession cases would begin in February.
On rough sleeping, the Ministry has made an additional £10m in funding available, adding that it would ask all councils in England “to redouble their efforts to help accommodate all those currently sleeping rough and ensure they are swiftly registered with a GP, where they are not already.
“This will ensure they can be protected from the virus and contacted to receive vaccinations in line with the priority groups outlined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.”
Councils will also be asked to reach out again to those who have previously refused help.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “At the start of this pandemic we made sure that the most vulnerable in society were protected. This winter, we are continuing in this vein and redoubling our efforts to help those most in need.
“Our ongoing Everyone In initiative is widely regarded as one of the most successful of its kind in the world, ensuring 33,000 people are safe in accommodation. We are now going further and focusing on GP registration of rough sleepers.”