Do you rent in England or Wales? The government has recently announced a “truce” on enforcement action for tenants facing eviction this Christmas.

Homelessness charity Shelter revealed that more than 170,000 private tenants have been threatened with eviction since the pandemic started. A further 230,000 tenants in England have fallen into arrears.

What does this mean for people who rent?

The truce for tenants facing eviction this Christmas means that Bailiffs should not enforce possession orders. This does not include serious circumstances such as cases involving domestic abuse or antisocial behaviour.

  • Notice periods have increased to six months to safeguard those at risk of homelessness
  • Evictions will not be enforced in areas subject to local lockdowns as the pandemic continues

What are the rules around evictions?

The new measures ensure potentially vulnerable tenants are not forced out of their homes “at a time when public and local authorities may be dealing with an increased demand for services”, a statement said.

Alicia Kennedy, director at Generation Rent, said: “It is welcome that renters will not face eviction by bailiffs around Christmas or where there are lockdown measures.

“But outside that, thousands of renters who have had eviction notices during the pandemic still have no assurance from the government whether they can stay in their home.”Those who have lost income will find it difficult to find a new home so face many months of uncertainty, getting deeper into debt.”

What should I do if I’m struggling to pay my rent?

If you’re a tenant and you are struggling to pay your rent, then you should speak to your landlord as soon as possible. This will give both parties as much time as possible to work out a way to more forward. You may wish to get specialist housing advice from an organisation like Shelter.

Get in touch with PayPlan if you have multiple debts, including rent arrears, and are struggling to make payments.. Call 0800 316 1833 or fill out our get free debt help form.

Visit the BBC’s page on what are the rules around evictions for more information.