Sheffield landlords are starting court action to evict tenants

More than a dozen property repossession claims were lodged at Sheffield County Court by landlords or mortgage lenders during the coronavirus lockdown despite the evictions ban, figures show.

Friday, 11th September 2020, 12:00 pm

Housing campaigners ACORN called for the ban on new evictions from social and private housing to be extended beyond September 20, warning thousands will be at risk of homelessness when it is lifted.

Although bailiff and eviction activities were paused as part of the ban, claimants have still been able to lodge property possession claims.

Ministry of Justice data shows 14 claims were submitted to Sheffield County Court between April and June.

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Eviction notice: some landlords are starting court action ahead of the end of the Government pause during the Covid crisis

Most claims were from private and social landlords – 13 in total – but there was also one from a mortgage lender.

There were significantly fewer claims made this year than during the same period in 2019, when there were 395.

This reflected the trend across England and Wales, where the number of possession claims fell to 3,183 – a drop of 90%.

ACORN is calling on the Government to urgently extend protections for all, including those behind on their mortgage payments.

Mortgage payment holidays, first introduced in March, are also set to end on October 31.

Tom Renhard, ACORN national chair, said: "One person at risk of homelessness is still one too many and the latest figures show thousands of people at risk.

"This is likely to spike as the furlough scheme comes to an end and many more people may struggle to pay their bills.

"We are in the middle of a public health emergency and people being made homeless could increase the risk of Covid-19 cases."

Landlords must also give tenants six months’ notice before they evict them, a new protection which will last until March 2021.

But tenants involved in the most serious cases, such as anti-social behaviour or those with over six months' rent arrears, can be given just four weeks' notice.

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokeswoman said: “We’ve taken unprecedented action to support renters, preventing people getting into financial hardship and helping businesses to pay salaries – meaning no tenants have been forced from their home.”

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