Sunday, 10 January 2021

COVID-19: REPRIEVE FOR TENANTS

The majority of residential tenants due to be evicted from their homes have been granted a further reprieve in England until 21 February 2021. The reprieve is in the same terms, except for one important exception, as the last one: see  https://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/search/label/COVID-19   The exception is that evictions can go ahead where the tenant owed at least nine months' worth of rent which had been run up before 23 March 2020. That has now been reduced to at least six months' worth of rent. Tenants should give thanks to and landlords should curse The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction) (England) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/15) which, unlike its predecessor, does not halt bailiffs' seizure of goods. Despite the reprieve, which also protects mortgage borrowers, possession proceedings may still be brought and possession orders may still be made by the court, although not enforced by a bailiff or High Court enforcement agent where the regulations apply.

For Wales, a similar, but not identical, reprieve has been granted by The Public Health (Protection from Eviction) (Wales) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/12) and, just to be different, they have placed the name of the dreaded virus in a different place to England. The Wales regulations prevent evictions for a longer period until 31 March 2021 but must be reviewed earlier and so could be brought to an end earlier. They do not make an exception for cases where the arrears had reached six or nine months. 

Some crumbs for business tenants too. The paralysis on landlords being able to forfeit their leases or go into their premises to take them over where there are rent arrears has been extended from 31 December 2020 to 31 March 2021,  in England by SI 2020/1472 and in Wales by SI 2020/1456.