According to a recent survey done for the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), at least 800,000 private renters in England and Wales could have built up arrears since the coronavirus pandemic began. Thankfully, those who might have been facing eviction can breathe a sigh of relief after eviction bans were extended in England, Wales and Scotland.
Here’s everything you need to know about the new bans.
Extension of eviction bans
In England, where the serving of eviction notices would have started again on Monday 11 January, the ban has been extended for six weeks. It will therefore now last until at least 22 February. The measures will be kept under review.
In Wales and Scotland, the eviction ban will remain in place until the end of March.
Landlords continue to be required to provide tenants with six-month notice periods until at least 31 March except in the most extreme of cases.
The government also says that court rules and procedures introduced in September to support tenants and landlords will remain in place. The courts will continue to prioritise cases such as those involving anti-social behaviour, illegal occupation and perpetrators of domestic abuse in the social sector.
A mediation pilot is also beginning in England and Wales to support landlords and renters who face court procedures and potential eviction from next month (February).
The programme will offer mediation as part of the possession process to help landlords and tenants reach a mutual agreement and potentially keep people in their homes.
Are there any exceptions to eviction?
Yes. The government says that there will be exceptions in eviction cases that involve:
- Anti-social behaviour
- Illegal occupation
- Death of a tenant where the property is unoccupied
- Domestic abuse in social housing
- Rent arrears of over six months
Protecting your personal finances
The move by the government to extend the ban on eviction notices will undoubtedly benefit many renters who are struggling financially because of the pandemic.
But even with the government taking such positive steps, it’s still a good idea to take personal steps to protect our finances and prepare for whatever lies ahead. After all, we don’t know how long the current situation will last.
Here are a few useful tips for managing your money right now.
Cut some expenses in your budget
This is one of the easiest ways to save some extra cash during these times. With the help of a budgeting app, you can track your expenses and see where it’s possible to make savings. A few ideas for cutting down on your monthly spending include:
- Buying non-perishable items in bulk
- Cooking at home and eating out less
- Cancelling your cable and replacing it with a much cheaper streaming service
- Cancelling subscriptions for newspapers or magazine that you don’t read
- Cutting back on non-essential items like new clothes and shoes
Start a side hustle
Needless to say, the options for finding a safe side hustle might be limited right now because of lockdown. But there are still many opportunities out there to earn some extra cash. To get started, check out our article on side hustles you can do from home.
Avoid taking on more debt
If you can, avoid taking on more debt right now. Instead, focus on paying what you owe. For example, check whether you can consolidate your credit card debts using a balance transfer card to give yourself more time to pay without incurring more interest charges.
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