The Government has confirmed dates for the “Christmas Truce” for private tenants in rented accommodation and Gemma Leppard, head of dispute resolution and a specialist in landlord and tenant matters, dissects the recent announcement to clarify what this means for both parties.
When is the Christmas Truce?
In late August 2020 the Government extended the notice period for residential evictions to six months and extended the ban on all possession proceedings until 20th September 2020. Whilst residential possession proceedings have now recommenced in the Courts, the Government has confirmed that no evictions of tenants will take place in England and Wales in the run up to and over the Christmas period.
The so-called “Christmas Truce” or “Winter Truce” on rental evictions was announced in September 2020 by Christopher Pincher, the Minister for State Housing and was originally planned to run from 11 December 2020 to 11 January 2021. Those dates have been brought forward and the Christmas Truce started on 17 November 2020. Bailiffs in England and Wales will not be able to enforce possession orders between 17 November 2020 and 11 January 2021 (subject to certain exceptions).
What are the exceptions to the Christmas Truce?
There are a small number of exceptions to the Christmas Truce which were announced in November. These exceptions relate to evictions arising from anti-social behaviour (including nuisance or annoyance, illegal or immoral use of the property), domestic abuse and serious rent arrears. We have provided a brief summary below of those exceptions:
1. Anti-Social Behaviour/Domestic Violence/ Trespassers
If a possession order has been obtained from the County Court based on anti-social behaviour, domestic violence, trespassers, nuisance or annoyance or illegal or immoral use of the property then the possession order made should be enforceable by the Bailiffs and exempt from the delay to evictions.
Serious rent arrears incurred before March 2020
2. Rent Arrears
Evictions of secure, assured or regulated tenants can go ahead if a possession order has been obtained relating wholly or partly to rent arrears, where at the time of the possession order being granted rent arrears were equal or greater to nine months of rent. Any arrears accrued after 23 March 2020 are disregarded for the purpose of calculating the nine months of arrears.
If you are a landlord and are seeking clarification over the Christmas truce, or have a general eviction enquiry, please contact us for a free initial consultation where we can advise you on the most efficient way of recovering possession of your property.