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Rents face being made homeless when eviction ban ends in three weeks

Hundreds of thousands of tenants in rent arrears because of lockdown face being made homeless when eviction ban ends in three weeks’ time

  • Eviction ban introduced at beginning of lockdown is due to end on August 23
  • Research by charity Shelter revealed 250,000 private renters behind on rent
  • Government urged to abolish ‘no-fault’ evictions and give judges temporary  power to reject evictions applications in court

Hundreds of thousands of tenants with rent arrears as a result of lockdown face being made homeless when the eviction ban ends in three weeks’ time. 

When the ban is lifted on August 23 a significant number of landlords are expected to submit possession applications to courts.

Homeless charity Shelter is calling on the government to provide struggling families a way out of private renting and the chance of a stable social home they can afford. 

The lifting of the eviction ban on August 23 could see hundreds of thousands of people in rent areas facing being made homeless

A YouGov poll carried out for Shelter identified nearly 250,000 private renters had fallen behind in their rent payments since the pandemic began in the UK and 174,000 had been threatened with eviction, The Times reports.  

The government is also under increasing pressure to see out its pledge, which was included in both Theresa May’s and Boris Johnson’s manifesto, to abolish ‘no-fault evictions’.  

The eviction ban forced landlords to give tenants three months notice of eviction in England and six in Wales, as opposed to the usual two months with ‘no-fault’ evictions.   

Measures introduced in March this year also prevented landlords from evicting people who fell eight weeks behind on rent. 

As the restrictions are lifted later this month, landlords who wish to evict a renter must now provide the court with information as to how coronavirus has affected the tenant. 

Despite this requirement, judges will be unable to stop people losing their homes. 

The government is under increasing pressure to introduce measures to help private renters, such as making good on Boris Johnson’s pledge to abolish ‘no-fault evictions’

In May the Housing, Communities and Local Government committee suggested judges should be given temporary powers to block evictions, encouraging landlords and renters to work together and agree a suitable repayment plan, and prevent the ‘looming crisis’.

The committee’s report also called for the government to finally act upon its promise to abolish no-fault evictions. 

The pledge was first introduced in Theresa May’s manifesto and was carried over into her predecessor’s Boris Johnson. 

Following Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick’s claims ‘no renter who lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home’ earlier this year, the government is under increasing pressure to make good on its promise.

Earlier this year Robert Jenrick said no renter who lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home’

Shelter’s poll also revealed 49,000 parents who are renting privately have had to resort to using food banks since lockdown and a further 429,000 have been forced to cut back on food to help pay their rent. 

In a bid to help those facing the possibility of eviction, Sir Terence Etherton, the master of the rolls and the most senior civil law judge, has set up a working group which is focussed on finding a solution to the impending crisis.

A spokesman at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government told The Times: ‘We are working to provide appropriate support to those who have been particularly affected by coronavirus when proceedings start again.’

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