The government has extended a ban on evictions for at least another six weeks as a result of the latest lockdown in England. Housing lawyers called for the ban, which had been due to end on Monday, to be extended immediately after the prime minister announced the latest lockdown earlier this week.

The ban on bailiff evictions for all but the most egregious cases will be extended until at least 21 February and the measures will be kept under review.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said court rules and procedures introduced in September to support tenants and landlords will remain in place. The courts will continue to prioritise cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour, illegal occupation and perpetrators of domestic abuse in the social sector. Landlords continue to be required to give six-month notice periods to tenants until at least 31 March except in the most serious circumstances. 

A mediation pilot will begin next month to support landlords and renters who face court procedures and potential eviction. The pilot will offer mediation as part of the possession process to try and help landlords and tenants reach a mutual agreement.

The ministry said: ‘Helping to resolve disputes through mediation will enable courts to prioritise urgent cases, supporting landlords and tenants to resolve issues quickly without the need for a formal hearing. The mediation pilot will work within the existing court arrangements in England and Wales.’

Commenting on the announcement, a Law Society spokesperson said: 'While we are pleased that tenants will be able to stay in their homes during the current lockdown, the effect for these tenants once lockdown lifts again, and the impact on landlords, must be kept under careful consideration.'