Breaking with the tradition of laying such regulations on a Friday evening the day before they come into effect, the Govt has laid The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction) (England) Regulations 2021 on the Friday lunchtime. These regulations extend the halt on evictions to 21 February 2021 and come into effect on 11 January 2021.
However, there is one significant change from The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020 which expire on 11 January 2020.
One of the exceptions to the ban on evictions is now stated to be where the Court is satisfied that
the case involves substantial rent arrears;
‘Substantial rent arrears’ are defined as
a case involves substantial rent arrears if the amount of unpaid rent arrears outstanding is at least an amount equivalent to 6 months’ rent.
And that is it. There is a change from 9 months arrears to six months arrears, and, unlike the previous regulations, there is no stipulation that the amount of arrears must be at the date of the possession order, and there is no stipulation that arrears after 23 March can’t be counted.
On this wording, I think a case could involve ‘substantial rent arrears’ if the outstanding arrears are 6 months at the point of application for a warrant, regardless of when the arrears accrued. This means that arrears arising from the impact of coronavirus would be counted.