A BAN on bailiff-enforced evictions is to end later this month, the government announced yesterday.

The temporary ban, introduced during the depths of the pandemic, had already been extended several times – with renters being covered by some form of legal protection for more than a year.

But from June 1, eviction notice periods that had previously been extended to six months will reduce to four, and if lockdown restrictions continue to ease, this will return to its two-month pre-pandemic period from October 1.

Housing Minister Christopher Pincher said: “As Covid restrictions are eased in line with the roadmap out of lockdown, we will ensure tenants continue to be supported with longer notice periods, while also balancing the need for landlords to access justice.”

He added that courts would continue to prioritise the most serious cases of eviction, such as those involving anti-social behaviour.

Ben Quaintrell, managing director of the Darlington-based estate agent My Property Box, said that there is a delicate balance to be made between supporting tenants and the rights of landlords to access justice.

He said: “We recognise this pandemic has presented challenges for landlords and tenants alike, although the majority of tenants have continued to pay their rent.

“Likewise, landlords – 45 per cent of whom own just one property – and letting agents have displayed a flexible attitude whenever necessary, but it is important to remember many landlords have mortgages to pay and outgoings to meet.”

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “Having operated under emergency conditions for over a year, the announcement from the government is an important step in ensuring the sector’s recovery.

“We want to see tenancies sustained wherever possible and call on the chancellor to step in and provide affected tenants with the financial support they need to pay off rent arrears built as a result of the pandemic.”