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Ban on tenant evictions is extended until the end of March after latest lockdown is announced

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Ban on tenant evictions is extended until the end of March after latest lockdown is announced

  • The latest extension to the ban on tenant evictions is until March
  • The ban means court proceedings cannot begin against removing a tenant
  • Landlords are still permitted to serve Section 21 and Section 8 notices 

Landlords amd tenants have been told that the ban on evictions has been extended once more after Boris Johnson announced the latest lockdown.

A ban on evicting a tenant has been in force for a large chunk of the pandemic and so it is perhaps no surprise that it has extended once again with the latest restrictions.

The ban was brought in to protect tenants who have been hit by a loss of income as a result of coronavirus.

A ban on evictions has been extended until March following the latest lockdown

A ban on evictions has been extended until March following the latest lockdown

Mark Hayward, of the estate agency body Propertymark, said: ‘In light of the recent lockdown, it is no surprise the Government has made this announcement.’

However, he went on to suggested the Government’s lack of updates about evictions in recent weeks has made it ‘impossible’ for agents to respond and plan for the ‘difficult winter months ahead’.

The Government has previous said on the back of the lockdown before Christmas that evictions would not be enforced by bailiffs until January 11 at the earliest. The most recent extension to the eviction ban was made on that day.

The numerous eviction ban extensions have meant that the courts face a growing backlog of cases, and Mr Hayward urged the Government to ensure landlords and tenants have access to the justice system going forward.

He said: ‘It is important to take steps back towards normality so that both landlords and tenants have access to the justice system, while putting measures in place to offer further support to tenants who have built up covid-related arrears through no fault of their own.’

What does a ban on a tenant evictions mean?

The ban is only on physically evicting a tenant, and means that a landlord cannot start court proceedings against the tenant.

The ban is not on serving section 21 and section 21 notices, which is still permitted.

A section 21 notice allows a landlord to evict tenants for whatever reason they like, while a section 8 notice allows landlords to evict a tenant inside the fixed term of their tenancy – but it can only be used if the tenant has breached their tenancy agreement and where certain conditions are met.

Six month notice periods are also still in place until at least the end of March.

TENANT LOAN SCHEMES

There are several tenant loan schemes in place aimed at helping tenants remain in their homes during the pandemic.

They include the Tenancy Saver Loan scheme in Wales and the Tenant Hardship Loan Fund in Scotland.

However, those involved in the initiatives have warned that they should only be used as a last resort.

Ann Francis, of Cambrian Credit Union, said about the Welsh scheme: ‘This is a loan scheme of last resort and not a grant, so it may be that not every applicant will receive a loan.’

WALES 

In Wales, the Tenancy Saver Loan scheme is open until the end of this March to private rented sector tenants in rent arrears and those who may also struggle to pay future months’ rent as a result of coronavirus.

It is paid directly to landlords or agents, and has an interest rate of 1 per cent on loans to be repaid over a period of up to five years.

SCOTLAND 

In Scotland, the Tenant Hardship Loan Fund, aims to help people who have had their finances or employment impacted by the pandemic and do not have other means of housing support.

The loans are available for up to a maximum of nine months’ rent costs, covering rent arrears and future rent, where those arrears have arisen since January 1, 2020. The loan will not be available where a tenant had rent arrears before this date. The loan can include up to a maximum of three months of future rent payments as part of the nine-month total. 

Oli Sherlock, of lettings experts Goodlord, said: ‘The Government’s motives here are completely understandable and it’s vital we continue to support tenants during this latest phase of restrictions.

‘Indeed, landlords and tenants have, on the whole, been working well together throughout the crisis to create payment plans and strategies that keep people in their homes.’

But he added: ‘We are concerned that a further extension to the ban without additional provisions for landlords and tenants is storing up even more trouble for the future.

‘For tenants, accruing arrears cannot be ignored. These debts will eventually catch-up with them and the small proportion who aren’t engaging proactively with their landlords will eventually find themselves facing County Court Judgements, which can have a long-term impact on their credit ratings.’

The evictions ban means that a landlord cannot start court proceedings against a tenant

The evictions ban means that a landlord cannot start court proceedings against a tenant

Mr Sherlock warned that the more debt individuals get into now, the more serious the consequences.

‘We must ensure that systems, potentially similar to those in Scotland and Wales, are in place so tenants stay on top of their rental payments and keep arrears low, or are supported to move to cheaper properties if needed,’ he said.

There are currently loan support schemes in place in Wales and Scotland, aimed at helping tenants remain in their homes during the pandemic. The eviction ban applies to all four nations – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. To date, no loan support schemes have been introduced in England and Northern Ireland.

Mr Sherlock added: ‘For landlords, many are now nearing breaking point. Scores are facing financial difficulties as a result of unpaid rent and ongoing mortgage costs, with a few facing uncommunicative tenants who are refusing to vacate properties even when leases come to an end.

‘Unless more support is put in place for those struggling, we can expect to see a large number of landlords withdraw their lets from the housing market over the next year. This will put pressure on a vital source of housing at a time of critical need. Decision makers must start thinking about how tenants and landlords can recover from these challenges during and following the stay on evictions.’

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Tetchy Tánaiste stirs the Stormont pot

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Some of the most petulant reaction to the latest protocol row has come from Fine Gael, which may explain unwise comments on direct rule and a Border poll from Leo Varadkar.

Speaking at a Co-operation North event in Dublin on Tuesday night, the Tánaiste said direct rule was not a viable long-term alternative to devolution. If Stormont is not restored quickly other options must be considered, with the best forum to do so being the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (BIIGC) of the Belfast Agreement.

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Tiny one-room flat with BATH in the lounge and kitchen by the bed is up for rent at £1,000-a-month

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Tiny one-room flat with BATH in the lounge and kitchen just few feet away from the bed goes up for rent for £1,000-a-month in London

  • A cramped studio flat that is up for rent in south London is so small it has a bath located in the lounge
  • The property, that is in the ‘highly sought after’ Wimbledon area, has a bed only feet away from the kitchen
  • Renters will have to fork out over £1,000-a-month to live in the odd space, though bills are included

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A tiny studio flat has been mocked because it costs over £1,000-a-month to rent and the bath is located in the lounge.

While the bed is found only feet away from the kitchen area, with a giant telly on the wall.

The south London property is on the market to rent for an eye-watering amount considering its size.

The bath is right by the back door leading out to a small private area on a patio garden.

The listing states that it has been ‘designed to maximise the space available’ and adds that the bathroom has ‘been cleverly designed to be fully hidden from view’, but this appears just to be a shower curtain.

A compact studio flat in Wimbledon is charging more than £1,000 a month for the luxury of having a bath in the lounge (pictured)

A compact studio flat in Wimbledon is charging more than £1,000 a month for the luxury of having a bath in the lounge (pictured)

The property's bed is located just feet away from the 'Kitchenette area', which boasts a microwave and kettle

The property’s bed is located just feet away from the ‘Kitchenette area’, which boasts a microwave and kettle

The flat has a 'self contained pied-a-tierre' (pictured) with a small table and two chairs

The flat has a ‘self contained pied-a-tierre’ (pictured) with a small table and two chairs

The flat in upmarket Wimbledon Village will cost lodgers £1,150 per month – or £265 per week – to live in it.

Bills are included within the rental and there is a secure parking space available.

One home hunter fumed: ‘London cost of living is so disgusting that you pay £1,150 per month to rent a bath in a bed/kitchen as advertised on Rightmove today.

‘Living in a decent home is an essential and fundamental basic human right.

‘It shouldn’t be a privileged novelty.’

The letting agent said it would be ideal for someone to rent for the Wimbledon tennis tournament which starts next month.

The All England Tennis Club, where the grass championship is hosted, is just half a mile away.

A Twitter user bashed the listing, calling the price of the studio flat 'disgusting'

A Twitter user bashed the listing, calling the price of the studio flat ‘disgusting’

The listing says the flat is 'finished to an exceptional standard' and is available for short term rent

The listing says the flat is ‘finished to an exceptional standard’ and is available for short term rent

The toilet is found opposite to the bath and appears to have more than a curtain separating it from the lounge, unlike the bath

The toilet is found opposite to the bath and appears to have more than a curtain separating it from the lounge, unlike the bath

It is being let by CHK Mountford and advertised via Rightmove, the property listing reads: ‘Set on the ground floor of a wonderful detached private residence in the heart of Wimbledon Village is this self-contained pied a tierre.

‘The property has been immaculately refurbished to a very high standard and has been cleverly designed to maximise the space available.

‘To the front of the property is a small private patio.

‘The room is fully furnished and there is a small kitchenette area complete with sink, microwave and fridge.

‘There is a separate WC and a bath which has been cleverly designed to be fully hidden from view if required plus a generous storage cupboard/wardrobe.

‘One parking space is available and is set behind the properties private gates offering complete secure parking.

‘This property would be ideal for a working professional looking for a weekday base and who is looking for something which is centrally located and finished to a high standard.

‘All bills are included within the monthly rental.

‘Available on a short or long term basis, please note that for a short term rental the cost would be on a weekly basis.

‘And would be at a higher rental amount than for a long term tenancy – please contact the office directly for verification of the weekly rental.

‘The property is available for rental during Wimbledon Tennis event and is the perfect base for those wanting to be close to the site and have secure parking in addition.’

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Truss made ‘turnips in truck’ Brexit remark about Ireland, former diplomat says

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UK foreign secretary Liz Truss told a US audience three years ago that the impact of a no-deal Brexit on Ireland would only “affect a few farmers with turnips in the back of their trucks,” a former UK diplomat said.

Alexandra Hall Hall, a former Brexit counsellor at the UK embassy in the US, disclosed on Twitter on Tuesday night that Ms Truss made the remarks to a US audience three years ago.

The former career diplomat revealed in an article she wrote in a US academic journal last year that a UK government minister made the remarks but she did not identify the minister at the time.

Last night Ms Hall Hall retweeted a tweet by Ms Truss in which the foreign secretary said the UK government’s “first priority is to uphold the Belfast Agreement” – the 1998 deal that underpins the Northern Ireland peace process. Ms Truss shared a link to her House of Commons speech in which she set out plans to introduce legislation to override the Northern Ireland Brexit deal.

Retweeting the message, Ms Hall Hall said: “So pleased to see Liz Truss become a genuine expert on Irish matters. She was, after all, the minister who told a US audience three years ago that Brexit would not have any serious impact in Ireland . . . it would merely ‘affect a few farmers with turnips in the back of their trucks.’”

‘Under strain’

Ms Truss told the UK parliament that the protocol had put the Belfast Agreement “under strain” because of opposition by Unionist parties, citing this as a reason to plan to introduce new legislation in the coming weeks to scrap parts of the Northern Ireland Brexit deal.

Ms Hall Hall wrote in the Texas National Security Review journal last year that during her time as a diplomat in Washington, DC that Boris Johnson’s government damagingly played down the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland’s peace process in statements intended for US audiences.

She resigned from her job in late 2019 because she said she was unwilling to “peddle half-truths on behalf of a government I do not trust,” she said in her resignation letter.

In her article last autumn, she described the “turnip” remarks – without naming Ms Truss at the time – as a “low point” of her time in Washington when the UK minister “openly and offensively” in front of a US audience dismissed the impact of a no-deal Brexit on Irish businesses.

Ms Truss, then the UK secretary of state for international trade, was visiting Washington at the time to meet the then US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross and the US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, both members of US president Donald Trump’s administration, and other politicians.

In the academic article, she said he had become “increasingly dismayed by the way in which our political leaders have tried to deliver Brexit, with reluctance to address honestly, even with our own citizens, the challenges and trade-offs which Brexit involves.”

She took issue in the article – entitled: “Should I stay or should I go? The dilemma of a conflicted civil service – with the UK government’s “use of misleading or disingenuous arguments about the implications of the various options” with Brexit.

Ms Hall joined the UK foreign office in 1986 and served in various roles around the world, including in Bangkok, New Delhi and Bogota before serving as British ambassador in Georgia.

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