A ban on bailiff-enforced rental sector evictions in England will end on May 31, the Government has confirmed.
The ban was introduced as an emergency measure during the coronavirus pandemic.
Bailiffs have been asked not to carry out an eviction if anyone living in the property has Covid-19 symptoms or is self-isolating.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said renters will continue to be supported as national Covid-19 restrictions ease.
As part of a phased approach, notice periods – which were previously extended to six months as an emergency measure during the pandemic – will be set at four months from June 1.
We will ensure tenants continue to be supported with longer notice periods, while also balancing the need for landlords to access justiceHousing Minister Christopher Pincher
Subject to the public health advice and progress with the road map, notice periods will return to pre-pandemic levels from October 1.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said the new measures will allow landlords to access justice, as 45% of private landlords own just one property and are highly vulnerable to rent arrears.
It added that extensive financial support remains in place to help people meet their outgoings, including the furlough scheme and the Universal Credit uplift, which have both been extended until the end of September.
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.
“Crucial financial support also remains in place including the furlough scheme and uplift to Universal Credit.”
Courts will continue to prioritise the most serious cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour.
This week, the Government announced that a White Paper will be published in the autumn with proposals to create a fairer private rented sector.
This includes proposals for a new “lifetime deposit” scheme to ease the financial burden when moving house.
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “Having operated under emergency conditions for over a year, today’s announcement from the Government is an important step in ensuring the sector’s recovery.”
But he said the rent debt crisis must be tackled, adding: “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.”
Cllr David Renard, Local Government Association housing spokesman, said: “We recognise that the ban on eviction enforcement, which provided vital reassurance to renters during the pandemic, cannot continue indefinitely.
“However, councils remain concerned over the potential rise in homelessness households may face, and the pressure this will add to already over-stretched homelessness services.”
“It is vital there is a plan in place to support and protect households to stay in their homes, in as many cases as possible.”
Alicia Kennedy, director of Generation Rent, said: “The Government must introduce a Covid rent debt fund, allowing renters to clear their debts and landlords to claim for up to 80% of income lost.”