On 14 February 2021 the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, made the announcement that many in the housing sector had been expecting - a further six weeks' extension to the current residential eviction ban which was due to expire on 21 February 2021. The residential eviction ban will now run in England until 31 March 2021.
As at the time of writing this update the government has not laid any regulations to formalise the extension. Mr Jenrick's announcement does however suggest the existing eviction exemptions set out in The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020 as amended by The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction) (England) Regulations 2021 (as detailed in our previous briefing) will remain in place without change.
Whether or not the residential eviction ban will be extended further beyond March 2021 is unclear, however there is growing unease that the extensions to the eviction ban are not addressing the problem – and are merely delaying an eviction crisis. It remains to be seen whether the government will yield to the growing pressure from bodies representing private rented sector landlords and tenants to introduce a package of financial support measures to tackle COVID-related arrears so as to avoid the predicted eviction crisis.