Article: Small Landlords, Tenants, Lenders, Governments Grapple with “Extend-and-Pretend Forevermore”

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Small Landlords, Tenants, Lenders, Governments Grapple with “Extend-and-Pretend Forevermore”

Nick Corbishley, 26 August 2020

The British public was recently treated to an exemplary example of what Wolf Street likes to call “extend and pretend forevermore.” At the end of last week, the UK government extended its ban on tenant evictions by four extra weeks. First launched in late March, the ban was supposed to last three months, but it was extended by an additional two months in June. Now, it’s been extended til late September.

In other words, tenants will have been safe from legal eviction for six months so far this year. The government also lengthened the minimum period of notice a landlord has to give before evicting a tenant from two months to six months.

Extending the eviction ban and the notice period offers a lifeline of sorts for tenants who are unable to pay their rent in the wake of the lockdown. Their landlords cannot evict them but the rent is still owed. And while extending the ban and the notice period may remove the immediate threat of eviction, in many cases all it really does is postpone the inevitable while shifting the locus of immediate financial stress from the tenants to the property owners. And the property owners are not happy.

“While the announcement could be seen as good news for tenants as it gives them the security of having a home, especially during a time when so many have been affected by the financial impact of the pandemic, it begs the question – what about the landlord?” asks Paul Offley, Compliance Officer at The Guild of Property Professionals.

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