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    British family who rented home to work in Qatar cannot return to UK due to Covid eviction ban 

    Family are left homeless by government’s eviction ban after their tenant stops paying rent despite still having job – and then REFUSES to move out of their home

    • Emma and Russell Burton, both 41,  rented out their UK home to work in Qatar
    • They wanted to return last year due to son Thomas’ rare metabolic disorder
    • Tenant refused to leave, and government eviction ban left them stuck in France

    A British family with a sick child are stranded in France after the Government’s ban on evictions due to coronavirus left them unable to get their home back.

    Emma Burton and her family are living with her parents after the tenant renting their Merseyside home stopped paying rent and refused to leave.

    The situation for Emma and husband Russell, both 41, and their two children, Thomas and Poppy, was made worse by the government’s extension of their ban on evictions until September 20.

    While many are thankful for the government’s intervention to prevent evictions by rogue landlords, some families like the Burtons that rely on rent income to support themselves have been hit hard.

    The family left their home in Newton-le-Willows in early 2019 for Qatar where Emma and Russell had found work. But to hang on to their home they rented it out through a letting agency.

    Emma Burton and her family are living with her parents in France after the tenant renting their Merseyside home stopped paying rent and refuses to leave

    However, within a few months they decided the move was not working for them and so wanted to return to their home in the UK.      

    But in December 2019 they said their tenants stopped paying their £800 rent and refused to leave the house to allow them to return.

    The couple claim that their tenant is still working as a car salesman, despite taking a rent holiday. 

    The situation has been further complicated by the Government introducing a ban on evictions during the pandemic.

    Landlords across the country are worried that they could be left without income indefinitely if the ban is extended further and have called the eviction ban a ‘kick in the teeth’.  

    Boris Johnson and Lord Jonathan Marland. In a letter to the PM, the National Residential Landlords association asked for help for landlords

    Boris Johnson and Lord Jonathan Marland. In a letter to the PM, the National Residential Landlords association asked for help for landlords

    The National Residential Landlords Association says that 94% of landlords rent property as an individual with 45% renting out just one property and 38% renting out between two and five.

    In a letter to the PM, the association said:  ‘As a result of this action, repossession cases on the grounds of rent arrears will not be treated as a priority until tenants have built over a year’s worth of rent debts. 

    ‘This means that it is entirely possible that landlords could be faced with no income for up to two years.’ 

    The association says that landlords will also face financial hardship themselves as a result of being unable to evict tenants who do not pay rent. 

    Their letter says  the ban could mean many landlords will default on their mortgages  and it could expose many landlords to legal action if they are unable to meet certain requirements within their property as a result of lost income.

    And they argue that landlords will be much more discerning about who they rent to if they are unable to evict tenants.

    The Government announced the four-week extension to the eviction ban on August 21, meaning in total no legal evictions will have taken place for six months (file image)

    The Government announced the four-week extension to the eviction ban on August 21, meaning in total no legal evictions will have taken place for six months (file image)

    Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association said:

    “The overwhelming majority of landlords have been working constructively with their tenants to sustain tenancies where rent arrears have built as a direct result of the pandemic.

    “The Government’s actions are a kick in the teeth for all these landlords who have done the right thing.

    “Ministers must use the next four weeks to come up with a credible plan that pays off rent arrears built due to the pandemic and gets the courts hearing cases again.

    “Stopping landlords from legally ending failed and disruptive tenancies is not a solution. The Government must act to cover the costs of providing homes, they cannot expect landlords to foot the bill for their failure to support households.”

    First announced in March, the scheme stops landlords keen to take back control of their properties from submitting possession applications to courts.

    ‘[The eviction ban] is now up until September 20, and then there’s a backlog with the courts as well so we don’t know when it will actually go to court so we can apply for a possession order to get them out of there,’ Emma told the Liverpool Echo.

    Their son Thomas, four, suffers from a rare metabolic disorder and needs medication and a special diet, but because they are not French citizens he is unable to access the country’s health care system.

    Emma is now worried Thomas will ‘suffer irreversible brain damage’ without proper medication.

    Their son Thomas, four, suffers from a rare metabolic disorder and needs medication and a special diet, but because they are not French citizens he is unable to access the country's health care system

    Their son Thomas, four, suffers from a rare metabolic disorder and needs medication and a special diet, but because they are not French citizens he is unable to access the country’s health care system 

    She said: ‘We can’t get back into our house, but because the tenant isn’t paying rent, we can’t afford a mortgage and to rent another property.

    ‘When we came from Qatar a dietitian kindly gave him enough food and medication which will keep him going until the end of September, and by that time we expected everything to be resolved and be back in the UK and we could re-register him with doctors and Alder Hey.’

    But with the family stuck in France, they are worried Thomas’ medication will run out by the end of September.

    And without any money coming from work or rent from their property, Emma could be left unable to afford their mortgage. 

    The Government announced the four-week extension to the eviction ban on August 21, meaning in total no legal evictions will have taken place for six months.

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