Coronavirus: UK government bans landlord evictions and adds extra protection for renters

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool

The UK government just announced a “radical package of measures” aimed at protecting renters and landlords affected by coronavirus pandemic.

The government confirmed in a statement that it has put emergency legislation in place to stop landlords being able to evict tenants out of social or private rented accommodation “while this national emergency is taking place.”

The new set of measures also includes “no new possession proceedings through applications to the court to start during the crisis.”

“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,” said housing secretary Robert Jenrick MP.

“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.”

Pressure had built overnight (17 March) for the government to help protect those who don’t own a home after Chancellor Rishi Sunak declared that all UK lenders would offer a three-month mortgage holiday for homeowners in financial difficulty. This includes landlords who have Buy-to-Let mortgages.

He promised struggling mortgage borrowers would not have to make monthly payments while they “get back on their feet” as part of an enormous £330bn ($403bn) package of guarantees on Tuesday.

But the opposition government criticised that the package did not contain support for tenants in private or social housing.

However, with the new measures set out by the government, both the homeowner and their tenants will be protected for the three month period. At the end of the period, the government said “landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances.”

“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,” said Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords association.