The Eviction Ban that has been protecting renters since the first lockdown came to an end on 31st May 2021. SPEAR is concerned that this will lead to a massive surge in homelessness at the time when most of us are benefitting from Covid restrictions being eased.
What was the Eviction Ban?
This was put in place in the first lockdown to protect people who were renting their accommodation from losing their home at a time when many people’s income was reduced through furlough or job losses caused by Covid. This applied only to rent arrears accrued since the first lockdown began.
Why is it ending?
With the anticipated removal of Covid restrictions in the next month and furlough ending in the Autumn it has been decided that this protection is no longer needed. Landlords have experienced financial difficulties with tenants paying only some or none of their rent. Additionally, tenants who have been unable to maintain full rent payments have experienced the mental stress of seeing debts accruing that they have no avenues to address.
What does this mean?
With the ban ending, an extended 4-month eviction process could begin on 1st June. For tenants who are in arrears this means a prolonged period of stress and anguish that could lead to them becoming homeless in October. The scale of this is frightening as nationally it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of households are affected, leading to a massive surge in people experiencing homelessness just as we enter the Winter.
For landlords this eviction process will mean that they regain their properties, but not recouping hundreds, if not thousands of pounds of arrears.
This is a course of action that ultimately fails everyone, both landlord and tenant.
With so many sectors supported financially against the effects of Covid, including a Stamp Duty Holiday for property buyers, an underwriting of the debts centrally would not only secure tenants and landlords’ financial and mental health – it would benefit us all. The costs of providing temporary accommodation and helping those whose mental and physical health is damaged by the trauma of becoming homeless would not have to be met.
No one should experience becoming homeless. We hope an intervention is made to avert this tragedy.
SPEAR will be there
Despite having the highest number of clients to support in recent years, we are determined to offer our full services to anyone who needs us.
With this and the ending of furlough we anticipate more people will require our services than ever before.
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