Tel: 01803 861368 / 01822 813648 Email: communications@swdevon.gov.uk

Issued: 2 September 2020

South Hams District and West Devon Borough Councils are urging landlords and tenants affected by coronavirus and the eviction ban to contact them as soon as possible.

The Councils are extremely supportive of the move to extend the ban by a further four weeks, which will help to support those who have become financially vulnerable. They know that these changes will have an impact on landlords who are not receiving their rent payments in full, as well as on tenants who are struggling to pay their rent or arrears.

To make sure that vulnerable households are protected as much as possible, the Councils are calling on landlords and tenants who are experiencing difficulties to contact their dedicated Housing Advice Team for advice and support.

Back in March, the government announced measures to protect renters and landlords affected by coronavirus. As a result, for three months, no renter in either social or private accommodation could be forced out of their home during the height of the Covid pandemic.

As the eviction ban was due to come to an end, it created further uncertainty for those severely financially affected by the virus. However, the government’s announcement on 21 August has meant there will be a further four week extension on the ban on evictions.

In addition to the extension on the ban, the government intend to require all landlords to issue a minimum of six months’ notice of eviction.  While the longer notice period offers welcome respite to vulnerable households during the colder months, we recognise the impact this may have on landlords and would encourage landlords to make contact with us in cases where rent arrears may be causing financial hardship.

While the Housing Team cannot guarantee financial support in every single case, they are very often able to support households on low incomes to meet their rent obligations in the short term. Further help can also be given with rent arrears to lessen the impact and pressure these changes may have on both landlords and tenants.

Only those cases involving anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse offenders, are exempt from the protection, until at least the end of March.

Cllr Hilary Bastone, South Hams District Council’s Executive Member for Homes, said: “This is a very welcome extension to the eviction ban but we know that while welcomed by some, it may cause difficulties for others.

“We want to help anyone who needs support if they are having difficulties meeting their financial obligations.  This is a welcome reprieve for most and we urge you to take advantage of the eviction ban extension and get support from the Housing Team.”

Cllr Debo Sellis, West Devon Borough Council’s Lead Member for Homes, said: “I’m very pleased that we continue to help and support those tenants and landlords who have suffered hardship. The team is friendly and approachable and will do everything they can to support you, so please do get in touch with them.”

Residents can contact the Housing Advice Team at: housing.advice@swdevon.gov.uk

ENDS