RENTERS in Pembrokeshire will be given further protection during the coronavirus pandemic, as the six month increase in notice for eviction will be extended to March 31 2021.

The Welsh Government's housing and local government minister, Julie James, announced today (Wednesday) that notice periods in relation to all tenancies, which had been due to return to their pre-Covid position after September 30, will now be set at six months until next March.

However, where the reason for giving notice relates to anti-social behaviour or domestic violence, notice periods will revert to the pre-Covid position. These arrangements will be reviewed in December.

The extension is part of a wider package of Welsh Government funded measures to protect both tenants and landlords from the effects of the pandemic which include:

• a new low interest loan for tenants in rent arrears or struggling to pay their rent arrears because of Covid-19. The loan will be paid directly to landlords or agents and can be repaid over a period of up to five years at a rate of 1% APR

• a private rented sector helpline run by Citizen Advice Cymru for tenants struggling with rent, income or housing benefits to advise tenants on ways in which they can maximise their income and manage debt – with a view to helping them pay their rent if they can and hold on to their tenancies.

In addition, eviction proceedings will not take place for properties in areas affected by local lockdowns and there will be a pause on eviction proceedings over the Christmas period.

Addressing the Senedd, the minister said:

"The coronavirus pandemic is continuing to have a significant impact on daily life and is still posing major challenges for all of us. I have therefore acted to give additional protection to renters by extending the current six month notice periods for eviction, other than the notice periods for possession grounds relating to anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse which will revert to the pre-Covid position.

"I am committed to ensuring we continue to protect renters while at the same time mitigating impacts on landlords and protecting communities from the harmful effects of ongoing anti-social behaviour.

"Where rent arrears have accumulated due to Covid-19, private rented sector tenants will soon be able to apply for a loan through the Tenancy Saver Loan scheme when it opens for applications at the end of this month."

The Minister said the changes offer greater protection to tenants, but were not an excuse for people not to pay their rent if they were able to.

"Having an early conversation with landlords to work out a way forward is vital, as is getting the right debt advice," she said.

"This is why we have recently invested an extra £1.4m in advice services to ensure people have the help they need to build financial capability and to claim the benefits they are entitled to."