A five-month ban on landlords evicting tenants in England and Wales that was due to end this weekend, is set to be extended for another month, until September 20, the housing secretary Robert Jenrick announced this afternoon.

Landlords will also be required to give tenants six months’ notice of eviction in almost all cases, until at least the end of March 2021. The only exceptions to this will be in cases where issues such as anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse are involved.

When courts do reopen for eviction proceedings, the “most egregious cases” will be prioritised, including those where crime is involved or where the landlord has not received rent for a year.

Eviction bans in Scotland and Northern Ireland have already been extended until March next year.

The Government said the new rules would continue to be kept under review.

Mr Jenrick said: “I know this year has been challenging and all of us are still living with the effects of COVID-19. That is why today I am announcing a further 4 week ban on evictions, meaning no renters will have been evicted for 6 months.

“I am also increasing protections for renters – 6 month notice periods must be given to tenants, supporting renters over winter.

“However, it is right that the most egregious cases, for example those involving anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse perpetrators, begin to be heard in court again; and so when courts reopen, landlords will once again be able to progress these priority cases.”

According to the homelessness charity Shelter, more than 170,000 private tenants have been threatened with eviction by their landlord or letting agent, and 230,000 people in England have fallen into rent arrears since the pandemic began.

When is the eviction ban lifted?

So far, the ban on evictions in England and Wales has provided breathing space for tenants who have accrued rent arrears during the pandemic after their incomes fell as a result of furlough, shielding, or job loss.

The ban was first announced on March 18 and was then extended to June 5 and again to August 23.

It is now set to be extended once again, until mid-September, as Shelter warned nearly a quarter of a million people in England have fallen into rent arrears since March.

Can my landlord kick me out?

Charities have warned that if the eviction ban is lifted without extra protection, tens of thousands of outgoing tenants could be unable to find or access affordable homes, prompting a “devastating homelessness crisis”.

Shelter said that by the end of June, some 174,000 renters had been warned by their landlord that they are facing eviction, and 58,000 moved out after being asked to leave during the lockdown.

However, it is a criminal offence for a landlord to evict a tenant without following the correct legal steps.

If you are a private tenant, a landlord can ask you to move out by issuing a Section 21 or Section 8 notice.

A Section 21 notice is commonly referred to as a “no-fault eviction” as landlords don’t need to give a reason for evicting you.

However, as of June this year, the Government now states landlords must submit evidence about how their tenants’ circumstances may have been affected by coronavirus.

If they don’t, judges will be able to suspend the court proceedings until such details are provided.

This means eviction proceedings for thousands of people could effectively be pushed back by months.

With a Section 8 notice, landlords already have a reason to evict you, for example if you’ve fallen behind on your rent, have damaged the property or there are complaints from neighbours.

The amount of time you get with Section 21 is two months if your landlord gave you notice before March 26 this year. This was extended to three months after this date until September 30 and is now six months.

For a Section 8, the notice period is three months until September 30 this year, if your were told by your landlord on or after March 26 — as opposed to just two weeks previously.

However, you don’t have to leave your home once these periods have expired, as your landlord must apply to a court. So you may be able to challenge your eviction if you think you’ve been unfairly asked to leave.

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