Residential Accommodation Evictions Suspended for Christmas 2020
- AuthorBenjamin Davies
The Welsh Government has taken action to introduce regulations to suspend evictions from social and private rented accommodation over the Christmas and New Year period. The restrictions have been given legal force in Wales by the Public Health (Protection from Eviction) (Wales) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1490) which came into force on 11 December 2020 as part of the Welsh Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have taken action to protect public health and support Welsh tenants this Christmas”, said Ms Julie James (Housing and Local Government Minister), adding that “this is an extremely difficult time for many people and renters should not be forced out of their homes, at a time when there will be less access to advice, support and alternative accommodation. We also know that people who are homeless are at a higher risk of contracting coronavirus”.
The measures mean that no evictions will take place in Wales between the 11 December 2020 and 11 January 2021 for social and private rented accommodation except in the most serious of cases (i.e. those involving domestic abuse or anti-social behaviour). During this period court bailiffs will be unable to execute a writ or warrant of possession or serve a notice of eviction.
The measures introduced in Wales echo the position in England, where similar restrictions have been given legal force by the Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1290). Again the regulations prevent bailiffs from executing a writ or warrant of possession at a dwelling house, save in exceptional circumstances (i.e. cases involving domestic abuse or anti-social behaviour). These restrictions are also due to end on 11 January 2021. That being said, the Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has advised that the situation is “changing rapidly” and under constant review.
It is worth noting that exemptions to the regulations in England and Wales may also apply where the court is satisfied that the notice, writ or warrant relates to an order against trespassers who are persons unknown.
Whilst landlords can still issue eviction notices during this period, this additional intervention will no doubt come as a further blow for many social and private landlords hoping to regain possession of their properties before the New Year.