The UK government has extended the suspension of new evictions until 23 August amid the coronavirus pandemic, Housing Minister Robert Jenrick has announced.
Renters in social and private accommodation across England and Wales will receive greater protection to stay in their homes for another two months.
— Robert Jenrick (@RobertJenrick) June 5, 2020
Jenrick tweeted “Eviction hearings will not be heard in courts until the end of August and no-one will be evicted from their home this summer due to coronavirus.”
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said it is working on new court rules "to ensure vulnerable renters can be protected appropriately" when the halt on evictions ends.
Housing charity Shelter welcomed the extension but warned it was "only a stop-gap".
As reported by the BBC Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: "The government has reset the clock on the evictions ban, buying the families who were only weeks away from losing their homes a vital stay of execution.”
But she said the ban hasn’t stopped people who’ve lost their jobs during the pandemic from “racking up rent arrears.”
“Even if they have a plan to pay them back, these debts will throw struggling renters straight back into the firing line of an automatic eviction as soon as the ban does lift. ”
She added that it's critical that Robert Jenrick adjusts the law to “properly protect renters.”
Dame Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: "Simply extending the pause of repossession is a sticking plaster not a cure. People who have fallen behind on rent arrears and those who have been furloughed or lost their jobs will need the security of proper reform to the rules governing evictions.
"We look forward to working with the government in the coming weeks on changes to make sure they keep their promise, that no renter should lose their home because of coronavirus."
The London Renters Union campaign group, which has urged struggling tenants to stage a rent strike, had warned Mr Jenrick had 20 days to stop "disaster".
Amina Gichinga from LRU said: "Unless it takes action to cancel the debt that hundreds of thousands of renters are in because of the Coronavirus pandemic, today’s announcement simply kicks the can down the road.
“We’re still heading for a chaotic rent debt and eviction crisis this summer unless the government cancels rent debt and makes the eviction ban permanent."