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Landlords can still serve eviction notices during the coronavirus outbreak

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The Government has been accused of rowing back on its promise to protect renters from eviction during the coronavirus crisis.  

Last week the Ministry of Housing promised a ‘complete ban on evictions’ for those unable to work due to the pandemic. 

Around five million households in the UK live in private rented accommodation and many of these could struggle to pay the bills if they need to take time off work. 

However, this week, the Government’s Coronavirus Bill has been criticised as not going far enough to protect these tenants from losing their homes. 

Landlords will still be able to serve tenants with eviction notices over the next three months

Landlords will still be able to serve tenants with eviction notices over the next three months

Landlords will still be able to serve tenants with eviction notices over the next three months

While the Bill ensures tenants can’t be physically removed from their property for the next three months, landlords will still be able to serve them notice to kick them out once the three month period ends.

The new legislation has extended the notice a landlord must give from two months to three – meaning that if a notice was served today, a tenant would have three months before they are evicted.

Shadow housing secretary John Healey said the Bill ‘just gives [renters] some extra time to pack their bags’. 

Landlords will still be able to serve what are known as ‘Section 21’ and ‘Section 8’ notices during this time.

A Section 21 notice allows a landlord to evict tenants from their homes for whatever reason they like, but can’t be used during the first six months of the tenancy.

A Section 8 notice allows landlords to evict their tenant inside the fixed term of their tenancy, but can only be used if the tenant has breached their tenancy agreement and where certain conditions are met.

Caitlin Wilkinson, policy manager at campaign group Generation Rent, said: ‘This legislation fails to deliver on these promises in every respect.

Some tenants are already struggling to pay rent 

Tenants are already struggling to pay rent among the coronavirus outbreak, reports have confirmed.      

Angus Stewart, chief executive of buy-to-let mortgage broker Property Master, said: ‘It is early days but we are already hearing from landlords who have tenants saying they will be late with rent payments or who may not be able to pay their rent at all.

‘There are reports of tenants whose working hours have been reduced or who work for overseas companies that do not appear to be currently trading.’ 

‘Eviction is the leading cause of homelessness, so the Government must act now to avoid another crisis in three months’ time.’

A Ministry of Housing spokesperson said: ‘We want to be clear that emergency legislation being brought forward means there can be no evictions as a result of coronavirus for three months. 

‘The claim that we are rowing back on it is absolute nonsense.

‘As soon as legislation is passed, no new possession proceedings will begin – in either the social sector or the private rented sector – for at least the next three months. 

‘We have the power to extend this notice period if necessary.’

‘At the same time, this government is supporting renters through guaranteeing to pay 80 per cent of employee’s wages, if their employer cannot afford to pay them while they are on temporary leave, and increased housing benefit. 

‘We have been clear we will do whatever is needed to support people at this difficult time.’

The Government added that guidance has been issued to judges and bailiffs, meaning that it is highly unlikely that any existing possession proceedings will continue during this period.

This means that if a tenant was due to be kicked out this month for example, they may now get an extension.

I’m a tenant, what should I do? 

Citizens Advice expert Rachael Gore

Citizens Advice expert Rachael Gore

Citizens Advice expert Rachael Gore

Rachael Gore, senior housing expert at Citizens Advice, has this advice for tenants who are worried about coronavirus: ‘If you’re struggling to pay rent, talk to your landlord straight away.

‘You should explain the situation and could ask for more time to pay or ask to catch up any missed payments by instalments. 

‘If you can’t come to an agreement with your landlord, it’s a good idea to pay what you can afford and keep a record of what you offered. 

‘You should get advice if you can’t reach an agreement because there is a risk that your landlord might try to evict you. In most cases, they’d have to give you notice and get a court order in order to make you leave.

‘If your income is reduced because of coronavirus, you should check whether you’re entitled to sick pay or to claim benefits. If you’re already on existing benefits, these might also increase. 

‘Check your eligibility for both sick pay and benefits on the Citizens Advice website.’

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UK PM Boris Johnson in intensive care after coronavirus symptoms worsen

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British Prime Minister was moved to an intensive care unit on Monday after his symptoms worsened, and his Downing Street office said he was still conscious.

Britain has no formal succession plan should the prime minister become incapacitated, but Johnson, 55, asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to deputise for him. Johnson was admitted to hospital on Sunday night and had been undergoing tests after suffering persistent symptoms, including a high temperature, for more than 10 days.

Downing Street had said he was in good spirits and still in charge, though at about 1800 GMT he was moved to an intensive care unit – where the most serious cases are treated – at St Thomas’ hospital, across the River Thames from the Houses of Parliament in central London. Johnson had received oxygen, a source said.

ALSO READ: Coronavirus LIVE: Over 10,000 dead in US; WHO says masks no silver bullet

“Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the Prime Minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital,” a spokesman for his office said. “The PM has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is the First Secretary of State, to deputise for him where necessary,” Downing Street said.

“The PM remains conscious at this time.” Downing Street said he had been moved to the intensive care unit as “a precaution should he require ventilation to aid his recovery”.Johnson, 55, tested positive for the virus on March 26. His spokesman had earlier refused to answer directly after being asked whether he had pneumonia.

RAAB DEPUTISES

Johnson asked Raab, 46, to deputise. Raab, the son of a Czech-born Jewish refugee who fled the Nazis in 1938, was brought up in the southern English region of Buckinghamshire and studied law at Oxford University before becoming a lawyer working on project finance, international litigation and competition law.

A karate black belt, he was appointed as foreign minister in Johnson’s first cabinet after the prime minister took office in July 2019. Asked at a news conference earlier on Monday whether he had been in touch with Johnson on Monday by either text or by telephone, Raab said he had last spoken to the prime minister on Saturday.

On March 27, Johnson became the first leader of a major power to announce that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Medics said patients with COVID-19 can deteriorate after about 10 days, with some developing pneumonia.

Health Service guidelines advise those who are self-isolating not go to hospital unless they develop new symptoms or become sufficiently unwell.

Johnson, who is not a smoker, said recently that he wanted to lose weight. He plays tennis and while mayor of London used to cycle around the capital.

The face of the 2016 Brexit campaign, he won a resounding election victory in December before leading the United Kingdom out of the European Union on Jan. 31.

He has faced criticism for initially approving a much more modest response to the new outbreak than other European leaders, saying on March 3 that he had been shaking hands with coronavirus patients. He changed tack when scientific projections showed a quarter of a million people could die in the United Kingdom.

On Monday, health officials said Britain’s death toll stood at 5,373.Johnson effectively shuttered the world’s fifth-largest economy, advising people to stay at home and the elderly or infirm to isolate themselves for weeks.

The virus had already penetrated the British government.Johnson and his health minister tested positive last month and chief medical adviser Chris Whitty also self-isolated.

Johnson’s pregnant 32-year-old fiance, Carrie Symonds, also had symptoms but said on Saturday she was feeling better.

First Published: Tue, April 07 2020. 01:00 IST

Source: Business Standard

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Dow Jones, S&P rise over 7% on hopes of slowing coronavirus deaths

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US stocks rocketed higher on Monday, with each of the major indexes rallying at least 7%, after a fall in the daily death toll in New York, the country’s biggest hot spot, fueled optimism a leveling off of the pandemic was on the horizon.

On Sunday, New York reported virus-related deaths had fallen slightly from the previous day, the first instance in a week. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that hospitalizations of patients are down and the rate of the rise in deaths has leveled off in the hardest-hit state. But he cautioned against complacency.

“Seeing the market soar the way it is, even though the fundamentals continue to be in free fall, the market is looking across the valley and saying ‘six months from now things will be on the ascent,'” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research in New York.

“They are looking across the valley and seeing a lot of scary news but are basically saying ‘We will get past this.'” Even with the positive signs, US officials have braced the country for a “peak death week” from the pandemic, with the death toll topping 10,000.

The Industrial Average rose 1,627.46 points, or 7.73%, to 22,679.99, the S&P 500 gained 175.03 points, or 7.03%, to 2,663.68 and the Nasdaq Composite added 540.16 points, or 7.33%, to 7,913.24.

ALSO READ: UK PM Boris Johnson in intensive care after coronavirus symptoms worsen

The gains marked the biggest daily percentage rise for each index since March 24. All 30 Dow components were in positive territory, led by a gain of 19.47% in Boeing shares, while the technology and defensive utilities sectors, among the best-performing for the year, climbed more than 8%.

The S&P 500 banking index jumped 8.21% and notched its best day in just over a week. Wall Street’s fear gauge fell to its lowest in two weeks, but remained at elevated levels. During the financial crisis of 2007-08, the S&P 500 took months to establish a bottom even after the volatility index plummeted. Despite Monday’s bounce, the S&P 500 remains down more than 21% from its mid-February record close.

S&P 500 companies are expected to enter an earnings recession in 2020, with declines in profit in the first and second quarters, according to IBES data from Refinitiv, as demand evaporates across sectors such as airlines, luxury goods and industrials.

First-quarter expectations now call for an earnings decline of 6% from the year-ago period. Versace owner Capri Holdings surged 25.9% after saying it expects to open its stores after June 1 and that it would furlough all its 7,000 employees in North America. Video conferencing app Zoom fell 4.1% on concerns over its data-privacy practices and increased competition from deep-pocketed rivals. Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 8.09-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 5.68-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted four new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 10 new highs and 34 new lows. Volume on US exchanges was 12.62 billion shares, compared with the 15.52 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

First Published: Tue, April 07 2020. 03:02 IST

Source: Business Standard

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MARKET REPORT: Stelios targets Easyjet’s finance chief in dispute

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The spat between Easyjet’s board and its colourful founder intensified as he lined up the airline’s finance boss as his next target in an attack on management.

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou wants Easyjet to cancel a £4.5billion order to buy 107 planes from Airbus as the firm struggles to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

He claims Easyjet will run out of money by around August otherwise, and has vowed not to put any more cash into the business unless it agrees to this demand.

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou wants Easyjet to cancel a £4.5billion order to buy 107 planes from Airbus as the firm struggles to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou wants Easyjet to cancel a £4.5billion order to buy 107 planes from Airbus as the firm struggles to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou wants Easyjet to cancel a £4.5billion order to buy 107 planes from Airbus as the firm struggles to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic

This has weight, considering he and his family own more than a third of Easyjet’s shares.

Stelios heaped more pressure on management by calling on the company to remove finance chief Andrew Findlay, saying it would be ‘the best way to stop him writing billion-pound cheques plus to Airbus every year’. 

Stelios tried to requisition a meeting last week to unseat non-executive director Andreas Bierwirth.

Tensions have simmered since 2017 between Easyjet’s management and Stelios, who is sceptical about its rapid expansion plans. 

He has derided the planes on order as ‘useless’ after Covid-19 brought air travel to a virtual standstill, with Easyjet’s 344-strong fleet already grounded.

Stock Watch – Angling Direct 

Fishing tackle retailer Angling Direct has secured a £2.5million emergency loan from Natwest after the coronavirus crisis forced it to shutter stores and furlough staff.

The temporary closures have led the AIM-listed group to scrap existing revenue and profit guidance.

Sales were up 19 per cent in the first three weeks of March compared with the same period of last year, while online sales ‘remain robust for now’.

The firm’s shares fell 8.1 per cent, or 2.5p, to 28.5p.

Easyjet insists one-off meetings to vote on directors would be ‘an unhelpful distraction’.

Yesterday it said it has become the first airline to secure a coronavirus loan from the Treasury and Bank of England’s emergency fund, worth £600million. 

It has also agreed to get a further £400million from lenders, which will tot up its cash pot to £2.3billion later this week.

The latest escalation in the conflict didn’t hold back Easyjet’s shares, with the budget airline surging 16.3 per cent, or 77.4p, to 552.4p amid a wider stock market rally.

The FTSE 100 rose 3.1 per cent, or 166.89 points, to 5582.39, as the rate of coronavirus infections appeared to be slowing in western Europe and as traders waited for Japan to wheel out a stimulus package expected to be worth more than £800billion. 

European indexes made steeper gains with France’s Cac 40 up 4 per cent and Germany’s Dax up 5 per cent, while the domestically focused FTSE 250 climbed 5.1 per cent, or 713.15 points, to 14812.36.

Oil prices fell 3 per cent, or about $1, to $33 as a virtual meeting between squabbling Saudi Arabia and Russia was being tentatively rescheduled for later this week.

Oilfields services group Petrofac was up 4.2 per cent, or 8.25p, to 205p after it revealed plans to cut costs by £81million this year, in part by shedding 20 per cent of staff and furloughing other workers.

Gambling technology group Playtech (down 4.9 per cent, or 8.6p, to 168.7p) tipped into the red after downgrades from brokers at Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan, who said it would take a hit in China and Italy and on sports betting.

888 Holdings soared 12.4 per cent, or 13.8p, to 124.8p, after the same two banks sang its praises as it does not rely on sports betting or retail stores, both of which are struggling during the crisis.

On the junior market, two science and pharmaceutical groups rose on their latest efforts to help fight Covid-19.

Ergomed, which provides services to pharmaceutical firms, rose 1.7 per cent, or 7.5p, to 450p as it said it will help in a second clinical trial in Italy that is looking at ways to help those seriously ill with the virus. 

And Novacyt rallied 12.1 per cent, or 23.5p, to 217p as its coronavirus test was approved for sale in France and Thailand.

Neil Woodford favourite Eve Sleep fell 7.1 per cent in early trading as the online mattress seller said chief executive James Sturrock had quit and will be replaced by marketing boss Cheryl Calverley. 

The shares recovered to close flat at 1.05p.

 

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