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23 September, 2020 Open access

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government confirms dates of ‘winter truce’ for majority of evictions

Bailiffs will be instructed not to enforce possession orders in England and Wales between 11 December 2020 and 11 January 2021

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has updated its COVID-19 guidance to landlords and tenants to confirm that bailiffs will be instructed not to enforce the majority of possession orders in England and Wales between 11 December 2020 and 11 January 2021.

In its non-statutory Guidance for Landlords and Tenants - that provides details of recent law changes affecting the private and social rented sectors including measures relating to notices for seeking possession as amended by the Coronavirus Act 2020 and health and safety obligations, repairs and inspections in the context of coronavirus (COVID-19) - MHCLG confirms that -

‘Guidance will be issued to bailiffs instructing that they should not enforce possession orders in England and Wales between Friday 11 December 2020 and Monday 11 January 2021.

This winter truce will ensure that struggling households are not forced from their homes over the Christmas period.’

However, the new guidance also advises that bailiffs may still proceed with certain evictions in the truce period -

‘We recognise that in some cases, such as in cases of anti-social behaviour, failure to proceed with an eviction during this period could cause undue damage and distress for landlords, other tenants and the wider community. We will issue further guidance to bailiffs clarifying the circumstances in which it might be appropriate for an eviction to go ahead during the period covered by the winter truce.’

Elsewhere, MHCLG also confirms that further guidance will be issued to bailiffs advising that no enforcement of possession orders should proceed in areas subject to local public health restrictions introduced by the government through legislation that include restrictions on entering premises.

For more information, see Will bailiffs enforce evictions across the Christmas period? from gov.uk