In a letter to the High Court Enforcement Officers Association, the justice secretary, Robert Buckland, has confirmed that during the second national lockdown, possession orders will not be enforced.

However, this ruling does exclude the most serious cases, which relate to illegal trespassing and squatting, as well as tenants engaged in anti-social behaviour, fraud or deception.

Moreover, the government has also confirmed that it will bring forward an exemption from the enforcement ban for cases related to extreme pre-COVID rent arrears.

RLA warns against scrapping of Section 21

Furthermore, earlier today the government announced an extension to the furlough scheme. As of September 2020, 9% of private renters reply on the scheme as their primary source of income, according to research from the Resolution Foundation

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “The vast majority of landlords who have had tenants affected due to the pandemic have been working constructively to support them. We continue to encourage and support such action.

“However, in a minority of cases renters have abused the protections afforded by the recent ban on repossessions, causing significant hardship. It is therefore important that the government recognises that in the most serious cases enforcement action must continue.

“The extension of the furlough scheme and support for those who are self-employed will be a life line to many renters reliant on it. However this still does not address the considerable rent arrears that tenants and landlords continue to face due to the pandemic through no fault of their own.

“Ministers need urgently to develop a bespoke financial package for renters to pay off such arrears. This should include a mix of interest-free government guaranteed hardship loans and increased benefit support for those who rely on it.”