Private Rented Housing: Evictions

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities written question – answered on 21st January 2022.

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Photo of Lilian Greenwood Lilian Greenwood Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of reinstating measures previously introduced during the covid-19 outbreak to (a) have court eviction proceedings stayed and (b) extend the minimum notice period for section 21 evictions from two to four months during the period in which tenants and advice services are affected by the spread of the omicron variant.

Photo of Eddie Hughes Eddie Hughes Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

The action we took at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic helped keep renters in their homes- through banning bailiff evictions, extending notice periods and unprecedented financial support

These measures worked - fewer households have been assessed as homeless, there are fewer rough sleepers and fewer possession claims are now being made to court. There was a reduction of 34% of those at risk of homelessness due to service of a Section 21 notice between April and June 2021 compared to the same quarter in 2019.  

Most measures that were put in place to support renters during the pandemic have now lifted. We continue to monitor the situation using the public health data, homelessness data, English Housing Resilience Survey data and repossession statistics. There are no current plans to reintroduce the emergency measures to delay evictions given the wider lifting of national restrictions, the success of the vaccination roll-out and the impact that these measures have on landlords. .   

Bailiffs must, however, provide at least 14 days' notice of an eviction and will not carry out an eviction if they are made aware that anyone living in the property has COVID-19 symptoms or is self-isolating.  

We have also retained the power to reintroduce longer notice periods until 25 March 2022 if needed and significant support is available to renters through the welfare system.

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