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Longer notice periods for eviction extended by six months

The temporary increase in notice periods for eviction in Wales will be extended to the end of March, housing minister Julie James announced this week.

Notice periods for all tenancies had been due to return to their pre-Covid position after September 30 but will now be set at six months in most circumstances. However, where the reason for giving notice relates to anti-social behaviour or domestic violence, notice periods will revert to the pre-Covid position. These arrangements will be reviewed in December.

Judicial affairs are not devolved and the outright ban on evictions in England and Wales is due to end on September 20. Westminster ministers have extended the ban twice before at the last minute but, despite pressure for another extension, it is not clear if they will act this time.

In addition, eviction proceedings will not take place for properties in areas affected by local lockdowns and there will be a pause on eviction proceedings over the Christmas period.

The temporary increase in notice periods in Wales is part of a wider package of Welsh Government funded measures to protect both tenants and landlords from the effects of the pandemic. These include low interest loans for tenants in rent arrears or struggling to pay their rent arrears because of Covid-19 and a private rented sector helpline run by Citizen Advice Cymru.

Addressing the Senedd, the minister said:

‘The coronavirus pandemic is continuing to have a significant impact on daily life and is still posing major challenges for all of us. I have therefore acted to give additional protection to renters by extending the current six-month notice periods for eviction, other than the notice periods for possession grounds relating to anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse which will revert to the pre-Covid position.

‘I am committed to ensuring we continue to protect renters whilst at the same time mitigating impacts on landlords and protecting communities from the harmful effects of ongoing anti-social behaviour. Where rent arrears have accumulated due to Covid-19, private rented sector tenants will soon be able to apply for a loan through the Tenancy Saver Loan scheme when it opens for applications at the end of this month.’

However, she added:

‘While these changes offer greater protection to tenants, they are not an excuse for people not to pay their rent if they are able to, and address any financial problems they are experiencing. Having an early conversation with landlords to work out a way forward is vital, as is getting the right debt advice. This is why we have recently invested an extra £1.4m in advice services to ensure people have the help they need to build financial capability and to claim the benefits they are entitled to.’

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