The first ban on evictions during the coronavirus crisis started in March 2020 and prevented landlords from starting possession proceedings in order to protect renters who had lost income due to the restrictions from being forced out of their homes. Landlords were protected by the 3 month mortgage payment holiday which alleviated the pressure to meet mortgage payments themselves. Since then, the ban has been extended a number of times and has one again been extended until mid February, with mortgage payment breaks available to landlords until 31st March, though this end date will be reviewed again towards the end of the ban.
This is because the UK has experienced an incredibly trying winter that was made worse by the new, more severe strain of COVID-19 that emerged just before Christmas. Due to the rising cases, the UK was put into a third lockdown, meaning many businesses have either had to close or furlough most of their staff as a result of the restrictions. These closures and reduced pay have left a great number of people unemployed or with less pay than they usually get, making it more difficult to afford large costs such as rent on their homes.
Although courts are able to process cases and eviction notices can be issued, bailiffs aren’t allowed to enact them until 22nd February at the very earliest, with the exception of extreme cases such as anti-social behaviour, illegal occupation and domestic abuse.